The mother of a man who died in a tragic dirt biking accident in Ucluelet last year is reaching out to express her gratitude for the first responders who tried to save her son’s life.
Dallas Tomniuk was in Ucluelet with his wife Lindsey for a camping trip over the 2016 May long-weekend. The couple were riding separate dirt bikes through Ucluelet’s backroads around 3 p.m. on May 21 when disaster struck.
Tomniuk crashed into a tree roughly six kilometres from Port Albion Road. He was airlifted to a hospital in Victoria, but succumbed to his injuries the following day.
His mother Patricia Roadhouse called the Westerly News last week to share her, and her daughter Dionne’s, appreciation for the local first responders who tried to resuscitate him.
“We’re trying to reach out and say thanks. We love you guys for trying to help,” Roadhouse said.
“We want to be able to thank these people because they went above and beyond in trying to save him…They make a huge difference and they probably aren’t told often enough that people appreciate them and love them for what they do and how hard they try.”
She said her son’s passion for motorbikes started early.
“From the time he could crawl, he had a little, tiny motorbike that was about two inches long and he would carry it in his little hand always,” she said. “Wherever he’d go, he’d have this little motorbike in his hand.”
Tomniuk was wearing full protective gear at the time of the crash and Roadhouse said her son was always safety-conscious from the time he received his first dirt bike at the age of 7.
“He always wore all his safety gear. Even on hot days he wore all his gear. His friends used to tease him about all the gear he always wore. It’s hard to get it in our heads that this guy, who was always such a professional rider and such an expert and was always safety-conscious about all his gear, would get a head injury that would cause his body to shut down,” she said.
“All those first responders tried so, so, hard. It was just too severe an injury on his brain.”
She said it is important for her to share what happened after the accident with the responders involved.
“My daughter and I want to talk to them and thank them somehow, because they tried so hard and we appreciate all their efforts and want to let them know that this guy they worked so hard on, actually ended up saving six people’s lives,” she said.
She explained a representative from B.C. Transplant had spoken to the family about donating Tomniuk’s organs immediately after his passing.
“We were informed of all the ins and outs and given all the information and, of course, because he was so healthy, we agreed to donating his organs…As a result, I got a letter from B.C. Transplant telling me that he saved six people’s lives,” she said. “Before Dallas we never thought of organ donations. You think you’re going to live forever and you don’t think that you might die suddenly and perhaps your organs could be used, or your loved ones’ organs could be used.”
Roadhouse does not believe there’s as much awareness around organ donations as there should be and, using the example of a father receiving a new heart, suggested donations change generations.
“He can get back to work, raise his children, play soccer with them, be a grandpa; they’ve got all these memories that they can make whereas otherwise they couldn’t and those kids may grow up with no daddy and they miss out on so much in life, but somebody donates a heart and this family, before long, is back on their feet,” she said.
“Since Dallas, and with the help of B.C. Transplant, we’ve seen what can be done and how many lives can be affected and changed and made richer and better.”
She said Tomniuk’s’ loving spirit lives on in the legacy he left behind.
“It was sad and unfortunate and a horrific loss for us. We are devastated without Dallas because he was such an awesome, awesome, guy and an amazing, loving son and the best brother that any sister could ever have. It’s a huge loss for us, but when we think about the families that changed because of Dallas, he’s still with us. He’s all around,” she said.
“He was so full of life. When he would walk into a room, everybody would light up. He was that kind of a person. He just brought sunshine wherever he would go. He was a tease and he was fun and he loved life. He was enthusiastic about everything. He was always a treasure and a pleasure to be around. We have that to hang onto. He left us with so much; so, so, much.”
Tomniuk worked at the University of Victoria’s Farquhar Auditorium for 13 years and was popular at the school.
“Dallas worked hard to ensure that audiences and artists had the very best experience,” the Farquhar’s director Ian Case said in a tribute posted to UVic’s website.“It didn’t matter to Dallas if he was mixing audio for B.B. King, UVic Convocation, a high school rock band, or an elementary school ukulele festival—everyone got the same attention and professionalism. He wanted everything to be the best it could be and to make sure that everyone he worked with had fun while doing it.”
He left behind two sons, Ryder, 5, and Theo, 1. A family support fund was set up through GoFundMe.
Roadhouse encourages anyone who helped try to rescue Tomniuk to reach out to her through Const. Marcel Midlane at the Ukee RCMP detachment.