Gibsons teen Muj ‘Rodriguez’ Saloojee is progressing well in his recovery, his family reported June 20. Hopes remain high that the injured 17-year-old will recover from his injuries.
On June 1, Muj was walking with friends through the Mahan Road trails in Gibsons when a large limb fell from a dead tree the teens were shaking, crushing Muj and causing him to lose feeling in his lower body.
He was rushed to Vancouver General Hospital where he remained Wednesday, after being removed from the intensive care unit.
“He’s doing really well,” said mother Zee Saloojee. “He’s a lot more comfortable, he’s sleeping a lot better just because he’s out of such a crazy place. The environment of ICU is really busy. He’s smiling and he’s in good spirits.”
The reaction to Muj’s accident was immediate on the Sunshine Coast.
His brother Kamz created a private Facebook group on June 11 called “Muj in Motion.” As of press time, the group had 353 members.
The group has provided updates on Muj’s progress and numerous words of encouragement from friends and family in B.C. as well as South Africa.
Information for those who wished to make a donation to the family was also available on the group’s page. Residents could request an invite to the group, Saloojee said.
“We only know the possible when we seek out what we think is impossible,” wrote one resident, who contributed to a long list of encouraging comments directed at Muj.
But comments on the group and concern in the community had begun to zero in on Muj’s parents, Saloojee and Imraan Goondiwala.
Muj and Goondiwala had recently relocated from South Africa to join their loved ones on the Coast, who had made the trek ahead of them.
Only weeks before Muj’s accident, the family launched their small business, a South African style bakery, with hopes of establishing their roots on the Coast.
“As you all know, Zee and Imraan are enduring financial costs during this time, and they also had to close the business to move to the mainland,” one commenter wrote.
“Included with our messages of hope and sending positive energy to Muj to heal, we also need to think of the family’s financial well being. My suggestion is that we start a fund to assist the family,” the commenter wrote.
A bank account has been set up in trust for the family. Details are listed on the Facebook group.
Saloojee said the challenges created by her son’s accident have forced family members to separate throughout Vancouver, moving from home to home and “squatting” with friends and other family members, with no intent to “impose” on the people they care for.
She insisted the family’s primary needs remain positive energy for Muj, a place to stay on the Lower Mainland and, perhaps, someone to run the business.
“We’ve just had an outpouring of support from the community,” said Saloojee, pointing to the fundraising activities by Muj’s friends, emails, comments and donations.
Life in South Africa, especially in the rougher neighbourhoods, demanded community co-operation back home, Saloojee said. That support network had left the family feeling homesick when they opted to move to Canada.
“We’re all very homesick for South Africa but at the same time we’re just totally embraced,” she said. “It emphasizes that sense of home for us.”