Nearly a week after he suffered a life-threatening medical emergency while on vacation with his family, the London, Ont., community has rallied together and raised tens of thousands of dollars for the family of Eddie Lopez, who continues to fight for his life in an Ottawa intensive care unit.
The 37-year-old London barber, restaurateur and father of two had been watching his daughter play in a soccer tournament in the capital on July 30 when he suffered a brain aneurysm rupture, his wife told Global News on Friday.
“He grabbed his head and then just asked me for water. So I went to get up and get him water and then he fell over and started to have a seizure,” Jody Davis said. “We got really blessed, there (were) doctors and nurses at the soccer field and the ambulance was only two minutes away.”
Paramedics rushed Lopez to Ottawa’s Civic Hospital where doctors placed him in a medically-induced coma. It was determined that he had suffered a brain aneurysm, multiple seizures and cardiac arrest, Davis said.
As of Friday, Lopez’s prognosis remained unclear, Davis says, “just because he’s not waking up or really doing anything that they need him to do currently.”
“But I’m a firm believer in miracles and hope, so that’s all we can do right now is keep praying for him that he’s going to come out of this because he’s a really strong man and has so much love in the community.”
The couple’s son had been playing on a playground nearby and did not see what had happened, however their teenage daughter, who was on the field, witnessed everything, she said.
“(She) went to see him a couple of days ago and she did really, really amazing, so we’re super proud of her and it’s helped her during this process as well.”
The owner of Elevated Barbers, which opened at the corner of Dundas and Talbot streets in 2018, Lopez has become a well known figure in the local restaurant community with Cheros House of Pupusas.
The family-run eatery, known for its Salvadoran cuisine, began as a food truck last year, but opened in March at the Covent Garden Market. Business has been good, but since Lopez was admitted to the hospital, the restaurant has had to close, leaving the family with no income.
It’s estimated that Lopez may need to remain in hospital for at least a month and a half, maybe more, depending on how quickly he recovers, Davis said. She says it has been a trying time that fundraising efforts have made easier.
“Being here trying to care for the kids, also eating every day and finding somewhere to stay, and then when we go home, being able to care for Eddie and be there for him while also potentially not working for a little bit,” Davis said.
“It’s been super overwhelming the amount of support and love that has been shown from this community.”
The community has rallied around the family, and a GoFundMe launched by a family friend had raised more than $34,500 as of Friday afternoon to support any current and future expenses they may face.
Donations are also being collected at Lopez’ barber shop.
At the Covent Garden Market, CEO and General Manager Amy Shackleton says market staff and vendors are thinking about Lopez and are praying for his speedy recovery.
“The management has put out a memo to all vendors letting them know what has happened, and in that memo, we’ve included the link for them to support,” she said.
“The community really came together and it’s been great to see towards their GoFundMe … he’s a big part of our market family and we’re just thinking of him and his family.”
The family will see more support coming this weekend with Brunch Fest set to take place outside of the market on Sunday.
A portion of the proceeds from the festival, which runs from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., will go toward the GoFundMe, and each participating vendor will be collecting cash donations, said festival organizer Jesse Walker, founder of Dine in 519.
“Eddie is actually a good friend of mine. We work together quite a bit through through the Dine in 519 platform,” said Walker. The pair first met two years ago at Elevated Barbers, he said, adding that Lopez had planned to take part in Sunday’s event.
“His wife had called me and let me know about what happened in Ottawa … When I saw that she had made the GoFundMe, I put that message out on the Dine in 519 platform to spread the word and things kind of exploded from there.”
A post Tuesday on Dine in 519’s Facebook page reads, “Apart from being a great person and a big part of the London community, Eddie is a someone we consider a good friend and someone we look up to for many reasons.”
“Our thoughts are with Eddie and his family. Still can’t believe this is happening.”
Information on how to donate can be found on the GoFundMe campaign page.
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