Move-a-Thon raises money for car crash survivor

SVSU’s Health and Wellness hosted a Move-a-Thon fundraiser for Amber Gillespie on Friday, Feb. 22, in the Ryder Center from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Gillespie is a 23-year-old who was injured in a crash while driving to SVSU to take a final exam on Friday, Dec. 14, about 7 a.m. She collided head-on with a truck, according to a GoFundMe page set up by Gillespie’s family.

The jaws of life were used to extract Gillespie from the vehicle, and “her entire left side was broken,” the GoFundMe page states. She suffered from internal bleeding, liver damage and several broken bones, and the family was told that she also suffered from a head injury.

She had five surgeries in three days after the incident, according to Haley McVannel, an exercise science sophomore and friend of Gillespie.

Gillespie’s condition is improving, according to McVannel.

“At first, (Gillespie) wasn’t responding to anyone,” she said. “Then, she started responding to her family. Now, she is doing well and responding to everyone.”

McVannel organized the Move-a-Thon through her role as a Health and Wellness coordinator and intern.

The event was created to help fund Gillespie’s expenses for the next few years.

At the event, six classes were offered. The day started with an 11 a.m. boot camp, followed by HIIT/Interval, cycling, guts and glutes, turbo kick and PiYo.

Anyone was welcome to take the classes. They were simply asked to have donated to Gillespie’s GoFundMe page, AmberStrong, before attending.

“I wanted to create an event to get people moving and raise awareness and money for Amber,” McVannel said.

The GoFundMe page’s goal amount is $20,000. As of Sunday, Feb. 24, it has $18,450.

“The money will cover insurance and transportation,” McVannel said. “This will allow her to focus on getting better and on her schooling.”

Kinesiology staff helped organize and fund the classes, she said. The fitness staff helped with the event by volunteering their time and running the programs offered.

McVannel was pleased with the event turnout and with the classes offered through their volunteer teachers, but she is not looking to host more fundraisers at this time.

Reported by Kaitlyn Farley, Vanguard Editor-in-Chief

Students participate in turbo kick class to raise money for Gillespie. Vanguard Photo | Kyle Will
Kaitlyn Farley

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