Funds being raised for local man with Transverse Myelitis



By Ron Giofu


When Rick Orum got up to go to work one morning in late December, his life changed in a big way.

Now, his family is trying to raise funds and public support to help him deal with Transverse Myelitis, the illness he was eventually diagnosed with as a result of what he experienced that morning.

“On Dec. 27, he got up to go to work after four days off for Christmas,” said Rick’s wife Manila Celsi-Orum. “He got up and he was weak in the knees. He came back and collapsed in bed in excruciating pain for a couple of minutes then had no feeling from the waist down.”

Rick underwent five MRI’s, lumbar punctures and a series of plasma exchanges but was eventually diagnosed with Transverse Myelitis, an inflammation of the spinal cord. After spending three weeks in Windsor Regional Hospital’s Ouellette campus, he was transferred to the Tayfour campus where he is still recovering.

The 52-year-old Amherstburg resident has regained some movement in his left leg, not much in his right and still has no feeling from the waist down.

“We really don’t know what the prognosis is because we don’t know what type of virus attacked his spinal cord,” explained Manila, adding they are focusing on his rehabilitation right now.

Manila said it has been an extremely stressful time for the family as they also juggle their family businesses as well as trying to be at the hospital to help Rick.

“It’s been a huge adjustment,” she said.

RIck Orum of Amhersburg is battling Transverse Myelitis. His family has started a GoFundMe page to help fund their needs in relation to his illness. (Photo from

Owner of Canard Automotive and LaSalle Towing and Recovery, Rick has been unable to resume work at those businesses. His family has been trying to get the businesses going as much as possible.

“Rick was a one-man show,” said Manila. “He was the mechanic and tow truck operator.”

While drivers are helping with the towing end of the business, the garage has been put on hold for the time being, she explained.

Rick is on blood thinners and auto-immune medications and his therapy is ongoing. Manila said his morale is doing fine, noting he has now had time to deal with what he is going through.

“He’s got a really good sense of humour,” she added.

A fundraising page has been established on the GoFundMe site, with Rick’s page entitled “Rick’s Fight Back from Paralysis.” Response to it has been going well thus far, Manila said, with financial and moral support being offered. People from across the country, many of whom have suffered from Transverse Myelitis, have reached out.

“It was very, very uplifting and very encouraging,” she said.

The GoFundMe page is trying to raise $35,000. Manila said they are fundraising for renovations to their home to be wheelchair-accessible including a washroom, wheelchair ramps and lifts, a wheelchair-accessible vehicle, and ongoing therapy and medications.

“There are a lot of little things and some big things,” she said.

Rick was originally scheduled to come out of the hospital this Friday but, after meeting with the doctors, Manila said it was agreed to not release him just yet. The family does not know when the new release date will be.

Manila added that the family has received a lot of encouragement thus far.

“I want to thank everyone for the support,” she said. “The outpouring of support is overwhelming for me.”

The direct link to the GoFundMe web page is

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