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Community Rallies to Support Master Sommelier Damon Ornowski

The wine pro suffered a severe cross country accident

Damon Ornowski
Damon Ornowski
The Juice Club W

Colorado is home to a great number of master sommeliers and Damon Ornowski is among the most beloved ones of all of them. An avid endurance athlete, the wine professional who became the 28th member of the Court of Master Sommeliers in 1996 has worked in Vail as the wine specialist at Southern Wine and Spirits for the last couple of years. Earlier this month, on a cross country adventure, Ornowski suffered severe injuries that left him with a long recovery ahead. A family member has started a crowd-funding campaign to help him with the many expenses he is facing, including medical costs not covered by insurance, travel costs, and more.

Below is the message posted on the GoFundMe page that you can also find here:

Damon Ornowski tumbled while cross country skiing with his fiance (Tammy Jacques) on Sunday, December 11th and fractured bones in his neck. He initially couldn't move his legs and arms. Tammy made sure he was stable and went to get help. He was eventually taken to Vail Hospital and then transferred to Denver Health. It was determined that he had fractures at C4 and 5, cervical spinal cord contusion and spinal cord syndrome. He spent 12 days in the ICU and underwent two surgeries to his cervical spine (Laminoplasty on Dec 14 and then an Anterior Cervial Discectomy and Fusion on Dec 21). He is now in the Progressive Care Unit of Denver Health and will be transferred to Craig Rehab Hospital on Tuesday.

Needless to say, it has been a crazy and scary couple of weeks. The good news is that the doctors are confident that Damon will eventually regain his mobility but it will take 2-3 months at Craig Rehab Hospital in Denver and continued recovery after that. Damon is determined to "kick things into high gear" and exceed his doctors expectations.

Damon and Tammy have received much love and support from family, friends and colleagues and are eternally grateful. Neither would ask for help but we know this will be a long journey. On behalf of my family, I'd like to raise funds to help Damon in his recovery. We know they will need help with medical expenses not covered by his insurance, travel expenses, etc.

Any amount you can contribute would be greatly appreciated! Please share Damon's gofundme site with anyone you think might also want to participate. Many thanks!

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