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'Extremely rare' syndrome keeping Coquitlam fitness trainer, former Mountie hospitalized in Toronto

Friends of Sebastien Lavoie are hoping to crowdfund at least $75,000 to cover medical expenses, which may include an amputation on his leg.
Coquitlam's Sebastien Lavoie, a fitness trainer and former RCMP officer, has been diagnosed with a rare condition known as compartment syndrome, which swells up his leg and develops necrotic tissue.

Compartment syndrome.

It's a medical condition that swells up the leg after developing necrotic tissue — dead cells in a body organ that form from a lack of oxygen and interrupted blood supply.

This has become the reality for Coquitlam's Sebastien Lavoie, who may need to amputate the lower half of one of his legs resulting from the extremely rare diagnosis.

Now, after nearly two decades of serving in uniform with RCMP and in the gym as a fitness trainer, the community is returning the favour via an online fundraiser.

As of this publication (Sept. 18), a GoFundMe page has raised more than $64,000 in five days by nearly 500 people for Lavoie with a goal to bring in a total of $75,000 to cover medical expenses.

"Sebas is the first to support someone in need and will do whatever is necessary for anyone whether you are a complete stranger or a good friend. Now is the time for us to support him in this difficult fight he has before him," says Shawn Albrecht, organizer of the crowdfunding campaign.

"Any donation will be used for travel assistance, medical expenses, as well as associated expenses during his long rehabilitation. If an amputation is deemed necessary in the future, the objective of the GoFundMe will be adjusted to cover the inherent costs."

Lavoie's compartment syndrome was diagnosed following, what the campaign describes as, a routine surgery on one of his legs at Toronto Western Hospital on Aug. 23 and swelling began to add pressure.

The aftermath forced doctors to partially open his leg to relieve the pain, but was "ineffective," Albrecht explains, and Lavoie's condition became excruciating in the following 20 hours.

He remains admitted in Toronto Western after enduring an emergency fasciotomy and five follow-up surgeries. 

"The extent of the damage is currently unknown, but regardless, Sebas will face six months of rehabilitation, future surgeries, until a decision is made to keep or proceed with the amputation of the lower part of his body," adds Albrecht.

"All of this is an extremely long process that will require several trips between Toronto and Vancouver and will require extended periods away from home."

Lavoie has a 19-year résumé in law enforcement, which includes stints with the Canadian Armed Forces, RCMP emergency response team,  general duty and up in the skies as an air marshall.

In the community, he founded a CrossFit business in Port Coquitlam where first responders — as well as local residents — can train and maintain physical and mental well-being.

He also has a blackbelt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu and spent time as a volunteer teaching self-defense.

"Sebas' life and his accomplishments are a demonstration of his desire to put others in front of him, continuously and without any questioning," says Albrecht.

For those interested in contributing to the campaign, you're encouraged to visit the GoFundMe page.