Metro-East News

Families of two metro-east crash victims relying on Internet fundraisers

The crash victims families are hoping to raise money to defray medical expenses.
The crash victims families are hoping to raise money to defray medical expenses.

Two metro-east families are trying to raise funds online to help pay medical expenses stemming from unrelated crashes.

Wyatt Dugan, 20, of Waterloo, was seriously injured Saturday in an all-terrain vehicle accident near Maus Road in Fults. Kirk Wills, of O’Fallon, was injured in a motorcycle crash May 18 and remains in the hospital with his wife, who is 38 weeks pregnant, at his side.

Families are counting on accounts with the website gofundme.com to raise money to pay for medical expenses and associated bills.

Wyatt Dugan

According to Dugan’s mother, Lori Weltig, Dugan was having a good day Wednesday at Saint Louis University Hospital despite serious head injuries that forced doctors to remove a large portion of the left side of his skull.

“He is opening his eyes. He was looking at my (hospital visitor’s) badge so I asked if he knew where he was, and he nodded just a little,” Weltig said. She said Dugan is on a breathing machine just in case, “but it hasn’t had to kick in yet.”

Dugan’s family has collected $1,255 in the gofundme.com campaign’s first full day. Their goal is $5,000.

“I am overwhelmed and so grateful,” Weltig said of the funds raised for her son. She said when she and Dugan’s father Matt set up the Gofundme page, their hope was “to have a little cushion just in case. Just to have a padding just to pay off some of the bills as they come in and not cause too much of a hardship.”

One thing that surprised Weltig was that she only knows about a third of the people who have donated to the family. “Even the people who don’t know Wyatt love Wyatt,” she said.

Kirk Wills

According to Erin Juliano, a Caseyville resident who introduced Wills to his wife Michelle and who also started the Gofundme page, Wills remains in intensive care in a hospital in Springfield, Mo., following the motorcycle crash that occurred in northern Arkansas.

Juliano said doctors began bringing Wills out of a medically-induced coma over the weekend, but he’s still not awake.

“I’ve cried a lot. We’re in a very small motorcycle community in (the area). This isn’t the first time we’ve had friends go down and be seriously injured,” she said. She said Wills’ family hopes to have him transferred somewhere nearer his home before his wife delivers her second child. But if that doesn’t pan out, Michelle is prepared to give birth in the same hospital where her husband is a patient.

Wills’ family has collected $11,364 over four days toward its goal of $15,000.

“Every time I look at (the Gofundme page) I’m in tears,” Juliano said. “He’s going to be out of work for a while. Michelle will be, too, with an infant. We’re trying to do the best we can for them. It’s amazing how much support they’re getting.”

To donate to Wyatt Dugan’s account, click here.

To donate to Kirk Wills’ account, click here.

Contact reporter Scott Wuerz at swuerz@bnd.com or 618-239-2626. Follow him on Twitter: @scottwuerzBND. Contact reporter Tobias Wall at twall@bnd.com or 618-239-2501. Follow him on Twitter: @Wall_BND.

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