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Life changed in a moment for a Niagara County family, after a tragic accident.

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Minerva Stefanski was the life of every party.
She was always smiling, always having fun, always up for an adventure. She loved everything about the life she was living.  
Then came Sunday, July 9, 2017.
And everything changed.
Now, this wife, mother and grandmother lives in severe pain. She can’t do most of what she used to be able to do. And she’s drowning in medical bills and living expenses. And it all happened in split second.
Minerva and Dave Stefanski and their family members, George McGann and Tomasa Martinez, were riding motorcycles on Rt. 20A in July. They were enjoying the beautiful summer day, riding together, when Joshua Huntress, 29, of Mayville, high on multiple drugs, including herion, swerved into their lane and struck both motorcycles, killing Tomasa Martinez and severely injuring Minerva, Dave and George.
Minerva, Dave and George spent months in the hospital. None were able to attend Martinez’ funeral service and never had the chance to say goodbye.

George McGann was severely injured and Tomasa Martinez was killed in the crash.

Minerva had fractured ribs, a collapsed left lung, fractured lumbar 3, 4, 5, spinal cord dysfunction, severely fractured sacrum with spinal pelvic dissociation, severe nerve damage, a broken leg – and those were just the big injuries. Dave and George also suffered crippling injuries.
Medical bills have piled up for the family. Further surgeries may be be needed and the Dave and Minerva are dealing with disabilities and are unable to work.
“We are both thankful to be alive, but this has definitely impacted both of our lives. Financially, we both are not working, my husband lost his job at Dupont after 20 years of employment.”
“I cannot sit, stand or walk for a few minutes without having nerve pain,” Minerva shared, “l want to be able to work but my mind says one thing and my body another. Due to our loss of income we are unable to pay for many of the mounting medical bills and day to day bills  that are still adding up and they are being sent to collections which is totally unfair to us, we were responsible hard working people and had great credit. So not only did we lose our regular income but our credit history is ruined by a person who was irresponsible and made bad choices.”
It’s a daily struggle, “Family wise, we no longer can do the things we did with our grandchildren such as amusement parks, movies, and other fun things. I can no longer sit comfortably to travel to Virginia for the holidays to see our son and his family. I was unable to make the holiday dinners for our family. We no longer are able to get out and enjoy an evening out the same way we used to.” In other words, the accident has changed every single thing about life for Minerva and Dave. Every. Single. Thing.
She tries to stay positive, but some days the brutal pain makes that just too difficult.
The community support and love have not gone unnoticed by the couple, “We are so overwhelmed, amazed, and blessed with the love, support, generosity, and help from our friends, family, classmates, and people that we do not even know who have contacted us by either stopping by to visit us in the hospital, rehab, or home, by phone, social media, emails, mail offering to help us in anyway possible.”

Family and friends are now hosting a fundraiser for the couple – hoping to help them dig out of debt, and allow them to live life, focusing more on their health and less on their finances.



The benefit is on March 25, 2018 from 1-5 p.m. It is being held at Gratwick Hose Fire Hall, 110 Ward Road, North Tonawanda.

If you cannot attend the benefit or just wish to give a simple cash donation. A gofundme page has been created – https://www.gofundme.com/511o0u8

If you would like to donate a basket or buy tickets, you can call Mary O’Brien at 716-998-9332

Mary Friona

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Mary Friona

Following my heart with my husband and four daughters. An Emmy Award winning journalist lucky enough to work in television & radio for 20 years - seeing wonderful places, meeting great people and telling their stories.

Comments (1)

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    James Hardy


    Great to hear you are back! And great story! I am family by marriage; cousin to three of the individuals in the story, and like family to the fourth. I do believe you have the date wrong by one week. The date of the accident was July 9th. Be that as it may, thanks for a great story. It’s so hard to see them suffer, almost a year later. Also, daughter of the deceased, Tanya, grieves so for her mom. But the family I married into is such a strong, faithful, and close-knit family. So much love and support for them. Next Sunday, will be helpful and should exceed the occupancy of the large fire hall! Lol. Thanks again for a great story from my wife, Lourdes and I.
    God Bless,
    Jim Hardy

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