It was standing room only at Resurrection church on Como Park Boulevard in Cheektowaga on Sunday. Hundreds turned out for a benefit to help Buffalo resident, John Reinard.
Reinard was hit by a drunk driver in September while waiting at a stop light on Harlem Road. He suffered serious injuries. So serious, in fact, it's unclear whether he'll be able to walk again.
Organizers hope the money raised helps Reinard on his road to recovery. “It doesn't matter if it's 50 cents or 50 dollars. We're just grateful,” said Shannon Shick.
Shick organized Sunday’s benefit. Both she and Reinard work together at Basil Ford. Shick said when she heard he'd been hit by a drunk driver, she wanted to do something to help. “It wasn't just a broken arm and he wasn't just Ok. It turned into a devastation because he's a member of our family.”
Reinard's spinal cord injury is the most severe of the bunch. He has feeling in his toes but so far he's unable to walk. “It's a very, very long road to recovery. They're saying 18-24 months before we know the extent of the damage,” said Reinard’s mother-in-law, Suzanne Piersa.
Funds raised here will go toward renovating his home. It isn't wheelchair accessible. “We can move things around temporarily but it's not going to work on a permanent basis,” Piersa said.
More than 300 baskets were raffled off. There was also a silent auction with some big ticket items like a signed Buffalo Bills jersey and Buffalo Sabres tickets. All were donated for Reinard and his family is grateful. “It's not just him and his wife and his son's life that have been changed. It's all of our lives that have been shattered and changed forever,” Piersa explained.
If you’re interested in donating to help with Reinard’s medical expenses, click here.