Crowdfunding raises $12,000 to help Vancouver Safeway worker

Wayne Hudson was diagnosed with a life-threatening infection and will be hospitalized for at least three months

By Marissa Harshman, Columbian Health Reporter

Published:

 

How to help

• Wayne Hudson’s family has set up a GoFundMe account to help pay for medical and living expenses incurred while Hudson is hospitalized. Donations can be made to the account, “Wayne and Susie’s expenses” at www.gofundme.com/wayne-and-susies-expenses.

After working more than a decade as a grocery bagger at Safeway, Wayne Hudson had become a staple at the Cascade Park store. Because he was not known to miss work, customers grew concerned when weeks had gone by without seeing his smiling face.

When word got out that the 55-year-old Vancouver man was in the hospital fighting a life-threatening infection, those who love seeing Hudson during their shopping trips opened their wallets to help.

A GoFundMe account set up Sept. 15 by Hudson’s niece, Shelby Fitzgerald, has collected more than $12,000.

“That the community has raised almost $12,000 has just blown my mind,” Fitzgerald said Wednesday, before subsequent donations pushed the total past that mark.

“That exceeds all of my goals and expectations. I never anticipated it being that big.”

Fitzgerald and her mom (Hudson’s sister), Judi Fitzgerald-Hudson, took Hudson to the emergency room on Sept. 6 because he was running a fever and hadn’t been feeling well for a couple of days, Fitzgerald said.

He was admitted immediately and diagnosed with an infection, she said.

Doctors thought a course of antibiotics would treat the infection but, after a couple of days, it became clear the medication wasn’t working. He was rushed into emergency surgery to clear the infection, Fitzgerald said.

After the surgery, doctors put Hudson into a medically induced coma to allow his body to recover from the trauma of the surgery. Two days later, he was taken off life support and transported to a Portland hospital’s wound clinic.

“He’s been thriving ever since,” Fitzgerald said. “He has a really long way to go and a really long recovery, but he’s doing absolutely amazing.”

The family anticipates Hudson will be in the clinic for about three months. He will also spend time in an acute care facility and will likely need to undergo some physical therapy, Fitzgerald said.

Fitzgerald set up the online fundraiser to help Hudson and his wife, Susan, cover medical and living expenses they may incur while Hudson is out of work.

Fitzgerald suspects her uncle’s positivity and uplifting personality are what have prompted so many people to donate.

“He’s just so outgoing and loves everybody,” she said. “He’s stuck in a hospital right now, and he can still manage to put a smile on the nurses faces.”

Hudson and the rest of the family are grateful for the community support, but they are asking for privacy as they help Hudson recover, Fitzgerald-Hudson said.

Cards and well-wishes can be left at Safeway, and the family will make sure Hudson receives and reads them all, she said.

“I just want to thank everybody who has donated or sent any thoughts or prayers,” Fitzgerald said. “Our family appreciates it so much. We never expected any of this.”