In late November, Airdrie's first responder community lived through a horrific trauma when they learned that own of their own, Advanced Care Paramedic and Airdrie resident, Jayme Erickson, responded to a catastrophic collision in which her daughter was involved in.
On November 15, 2022 emergency crews responded to a two-vehicle collision at Big Hill Springs Road and Range Road 24. One female youth who was the passenger in one of the vehicles was flown by STARS air ambulance to a hospital, in life-threatening condition. On November 20, Erickson revealed via a public social media post that it was her 17-year-old daughter, Montana who was involved in the collision.
"The critically injured patient I had just attended to, was my own flesh and blood. My only child. My mini-me. My daughter, Montana. Her injuries were so horrific I did not even recognize her. I was taken to FMC [Foothills Medical Centre] to see my baby girl, and was informed her injuries were not compatible with life," Erickson wrote. "Today we officially said goodbye to my little girl. I cannot help but be angry for the short amount of time I was given with her. 17 years was not long enough."
On November 22, Erickson, accompanied by family, friends, and colleagues from all first response branches held a news conference at the Chinook Winds Fire Hall.
"She's her mother's daughter, so that's the first thing. Montana was a firecracker. She loved fiercely and if you were her friend, she would love you to the end of the world and back. She would do anything for you. She was a fighter and she fought until the day she died," Erickson said. "She was beautiful. She was so beautiful."
Erickson said her daughter was not only a fierce and determined young woman with aspirations of becoming a lawyer, but she was also a top-notch swimmer. Although Erickson and her family, including her husband Sean, who is also a Calgary paramedic, and Montana's adoptive father, a paramedic as well, grapple with the dark void of their daughter no longer with them, Erickson revealed that Montana was still able to give, even in her final hours.
"She was able to donate her organs and some of those organs that were donated were life-saving. We're so happy to know that our baby girl is moving on through others. She has in the wake of this tragedy, saved other people. We know it's what she would have wanted," she said. "We are so proud of her and we're going to miss her very, very much."
Apart from being a spunky and vivacious teenager with wit and spark, Erickson said her daughter was also a talented writer.
"Her writing skills blew me away. Sometimes some things that she would write to me or some analogies that she would do of books and movies; I would often say to her, 'did you just copy and paste?' Because she was so articulate," she said. "I just wonder what she would have been in life."
Since news of the story broke, condolences from the community and across the province have poured in, some as far away as Australia. The story has since gone global, with publications in the United States, Britain, and the Czech Republic covering the news.
Montana's funeral was held on Tuesday, November 29, 2022. In her obituary, her family wrote their final goodbyes, underlining it was not forever:
Goodbyes are not the end. They simply mean we’ll miss you. Until we meet again. I Love You to the Moon and Back my sweet baby girl.
A gofundme campaign that was set up on behalf of the family has amassed over $131 thousand dollars. The page is active, with donations continuing.
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