Chelsea Townend continues to spend as much of her day as she can at the hospital bedside of her husband, who remains in a medically-induced coma.
Bradley Eliason, 28, was assaulted the night of May 3 while enjoying a bonfire on Okanagan Lake beach with a friend.
Believed to have been knocked unconscious after being punched, the family think he may have hit his head on the concrete, resulting in the severe trauma. He was eventually taken to Kelowna General Hospital where he underwent emergency brain surgery and where he remains in stable condition in the intensive care unit.
“There was a little bit of time where the doctors didn’t want us to talk to him or touch him but now I talk to him all the time. I tell him to be strong and to keep fighting and that people out there are rooting for him,” said Townend Tuesday before leaving for the hospital to see Bradley.
“Brad just had a CT scan the other day and he still has some swelling of the brain so they’re going to keep him under for some more healing.”
She added doctors planned to remove his breathing tubes Tuesday.
“His vitals are good and everything else is good. He just has a brain injury and that’s just what they’re trying to get under wraps,” said Townend, who described her husband as someone who loved to laugh and make others laugh. “He is very generous, he’s the type of guy that would give the shirt off his back to help anybody.”
According to his wife, it is believed that a group of teens joined Bradley and their neighbour on the beach when two men approached the youth. She was told the men were trying to grab one of the teens’ hats and “trying to rip off one of the girls’ shirts.” At that point, Bradley stepped in and was allegedly struck by one of the men.
“That’s just what he would do, that’s the kind of guy he is, he would try to help,” said Townend.
Thomas Kruger-Allen, 21, is facing charges of aggravated assault, sexual assault and two counts of assault involving three people that night according to police. Kruger-Allen has a history of violent behaviour dating back to a 2017 incident outside the now-closed Mule nightclub. He remains in custody and is scheduled to appear in court again by video May 29.
Police say the other two people involved in the assault that resulted in the charges were not seriously hurt.
A co-worker of Townend’s at Penticton Regional Hospital has started a GoFundMe campaign for the couple to help with their mounting expenses.
Townend, meanwhile, has not been home to Penticton since her husband of five years was injured.
“I have my good days and my bad ones,” she said. “I’m with family and friends, but you know, it’s just really hard to see him like that, some days are better than others, I’m just kind of hanging in there.
“But we’ve really had so much support from everybody and it’s been hard to answer everyone but I just want to say thank you so much to everybody for everything you’ve done, right now we need all the help we can get.”
So much of her life is resting on the outcome of Bradley’s condition, especially having already lost her brother and sister and father.
“He is my best friend, I just really hope and pray I get him back.”
Mark Brett | Reporter
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