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Chilliwack family of rollover-crash victim seeks community support

‘Let’s come together to rally behind Norm, Diane, and their daughters,’ says post for fundraiser
Rollover crash victim’s family started a fundraiser to help with mounting costs. (Krystal Ramone photo)

Family of the couple involved in the horrific Easter rollover crash have reached out to their community for support.

It was Norm Melanson of Chilliwack who suffered a cardiac event while driving south on Yale Road with his wife Diane on March 31. They are retired owners of much-loved local business Jim’s Pizza.

The couple’s car jumped the curb, hitting a utility pole, and then flipped more than once, according to Neil Marshall, family member who started the fundraiser, ‘Help the Melanson Family.’

The GoFundMe started by family is aimed at rallying support from the Chilliwack community since their loved one is still in hospital in critical condition “fighting for his life.”

Witnesses reported seeing the vehicle go airborne before crashing down and landing on its roof on Yale Road, near Hocking Avenue.

“In this challenging time, we’re reaching out to our community for support,” Marshall wrote in the GoFundMe started on April 4.

The fundraiser will offset mounting costs for “accommodations, food, lost wages, travel” and more since the crash from which he has not regained consciousness.

Chilliwack RCMP put out a release Wednesday (April 3) stating that a single vehicle rollover occurred in the 45700-block of Yale Road on March 31. Officers attending the serious crash scene found the male driver unresponsive and a female passenger suffering minor injuries.

“Due to the heroic efforts of a good Samaritan Diane sustained only minor injuries, Norm’s condition however remains critical,” Marshall wrote.

Diane and their three daughters have been by Norm’s side in the days since it happened.

The family now credits “the prompt response of paramedics that his heart started beating again” after being without a pulse for several minutes.

They also say there are multiple surgeries as part of “a long road of healing ahead.”

The financial burden is weighing heavily since hotel costs alone could be $6,000 a month, adding to their already mounting expenses, the GoFundMe summary said.

“Norm and Diane Melanson have been the heart and soul of our community for years, serving up slices of kindness along with their delicious pizzas at Jim’s Pizza for 16 years,” it stated. “Through their business, they’ve been the backbone of countless community initiatives, lending support to individuals and organizations in need for over 16 years. Norm, a warm and loving husband, father, and friend, has always gone above and beyond to make a difference in the lives of those around him.

”Since selling the restaurant in June of 2023 they have been enjoying a much deserved retirement.

”Let’s come together as a community to rally behind Norm, Diane, and their daughters during this difficult period. If you are unable to contribute financially, we ask that you please share this story to spread awareness. Thank you for your kindness and support.”

The fundraiser had earned more than $5,500 of the $40,000 goal by Friday morning.

READ MORE: Easter crash saw vehicle roll over more than once

Jennifer Feinberg

About the Author: Jennifer Feinberg

I have been a Chilliwack Progress reporter for 20+ years, covering the arts, city hall, as well as Indigenous, and climate change stories.
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