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Nearly a week after he suffered a life-threatening medical emergency while on vacation with his family, the London, Ont., community rallied and raised tens of thousands of dollars for the family of Eddie Lopez, who continues to fight for his life in an intensive care unit in Ottawa.
The 37-year-old London barber, restaurateur and father of two was watching his daughter 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 got up and got him water and then he fell over and started having a seizure,” said Jody Davis. “We got really blessed, there (were) doctors and nurses at the football 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 he had suffered a brain aneurysm, multiple seizures and cardiac arrest, Davis said.
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As of Friday, Lopez’s prognosis remained unclear, Davis said, “just because he’s not waking up or really doing anything that they need him to do right now.”
“But I firmly believe in miracles and hope, so that’s all we can do now is to keep praying for him that he will get out of this, because he is a very strong man and has so much love in the community.”
The couple’s son was playing on a nearby playground and did not see what happened, but their teenage daughter, who was on the field, witnessed everything, she said.
“(She) went to see him a few days ago and she did really, really great, so we’re very proud of her and that’s helped her through this process as well.”
The owner of Elevated Barbers, which opened in 2018 at the corner of Dundas and Talbot Streets, Lopez has become a familiar figure in the local restaurant community with Cheros House of Pupusas.
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The family-run eatery, known for its Salvadoran cuisine, started as a food truck last year but opened at Covent Garden Market in March. Business was good, but since Lopez was hospitalized, the restaurant had to close, leaving the family with no income.
It is estimated that Lopez may have to stay in the hospital for at least a month and a half, maybe more, depending on how quickly he recovers, Davis said. She says it was a difficult time which made fundraising efforts easier.
“Being here trying to take care of the kids, also eating every day and finding a place to stay, and then when we go home, being able to take care of Eddie and be there for him, while We might not work for a bit either,” Davis said.
“It was overwhelming the amount of support and love that was shown from this community.”
The community rallied around the family, and a GoFundMe started by a family friend had raised more than $34,500 as of Friday afternoon to support any current and future expenses they face.
Donations are also being collected at Lopez’s barber shop.
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At the Covent Garden market, CEO and general manager Amy Shackleton said market staff and vendors are thinking of Lopez and praying for his speedy recovery.
“Management sent out a memo to all providers to let them know what happened, and in that memo we included the link for them to support,” she said.
“The community really came together and it was great to see 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 this weekend with Brunch Fest taking place outside the market on Sunday.
A portion of the proceeds from the festival, which runs from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., will go to the GoFundMe, and each participating vendor will collect cash donations, said festival organizer Jesse Walker, founder of Dine in 519.
“Eddie is actually a good friend of mine. We collaborate quite a bit through the Dine in 519 platform,” Walker said. The pair first met at Elevated Barbers two years ago, he said, adding that Lopez planned to attend Sunday’s event.
“His wife called me and let me know what happened in Ottawa… When I saw that she made the GoFundMe, I posted that message on the Dine in 519 platform to spread the word and things took off from there. explode.”
A post on Tuesday on Dine in 519’s Facebook page read: “As well as being a wonderful person and a huge part of the London community, Eddie is 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 it’s happening.”
Information on how to donate can be found on the GoFundMe campaign page.
© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.