Thousands raised for injured woman
Seven months on from the car crash that very nearly took her life, Suzi Merson is learning to walk again.
‘‘I’ve got a great admiration for toddlers now,’’ she laughs. Merson had hoped to be walking unaided by spring, but is thinking now it might be Christmas.
‘‘I thought I would put on artificial leg on and would just walk off into the sunset, that was about 3 months ago.’’
Merson suffered horrific injuries when she was involved in a head on collision on February 3 this year – a dozen broken bones, internal injuries and a severe trauma that required one leg to be amputated below the knee.
Merson’s community has rallied around her and on Wednesday night last week, 220 people showed up to an art auction in Havelock North, called Framed For Suzi, and nearly $40,000 was raised.
The money will go towards helping Merson and her family as she continues her rehabilitation.
Artists from Hawke’s Bay and the rest of the country, many of whom picture-framer Merson had worked with, donated 40 pieces.
Speaking the day after the auction, Merson said seeing so many people gathered for her made her feel ‘‘permanently a little bit better’’.
‘‘It was an amazing night ... it was really nice having people support me, and come up and saying hello, even people I didn’t know.’’
Part of her enjoyment came from not thinking the event was being held for her, but rather the artists whose work was being sold.
The organisation of the auction was lead by John Macpherson, whose business had been next to Merson’s in Havelock North, for years. ‘‘Everyone loves Suzi,’’ he said. The auction ‘‘went off like a dream’’. It included works from well-known artists, as well as some young up-and-comers.
‘‘Suzi’s grandchildren live in Australia, they’re just little tots, they did three little paintings, and they went for $2500, it was super cool.’’
Merson’s three adult children had also contributed pieces.
While the art made up most of the $36,000 total, raffles, and the price of tickets, also contributed.
Macpherson said Merson was the perfect person to be a picture framer, who had made a living out of framing people’s treasures.
‘‘She doesn’t care if it’s a piece of fine art, or a granddaughter’s booties.’’
Not surprisingly, the crash altered Merson and her family’s life in a huge way.
The picture framer had to sell her business, but the family still has a hand in it, with her daughter Abbey and husband Shane managing the shop.
Because so many pieces were donated for the auction, some would have to be sold online, Macpherson said.
People can also donate to Merson through a Givealittle page called Framed For Suzi.
The Havelock North community has raised $36,000 for Suzi Merson, after her horrific car crash. ‘‘It was an amazing night ... it was really nice having people support me.’’