EL CAJON, Calif. (KGTV) - A community is rallying together to support a recent SDSU grad left paralyzed after an off-road vehicle crash in Mexico.
Video shows 22-year-old Tanner Ifrid in mid-May, walking across the stage as he graduated from SDSU with a business degree, excited to start a job in commercial real estate.
Weeks later, his life is now forever changed.
“Rough, hard … overwhelming, for sure,” said his father, David Ifrid.
David says on Memorial Day weekend, family and friends made the annual trip to their second home, several hours south of Mexicali, to participate in a local community fundraiser.
Days into the trip, as Tanner arrived at the house, he believed his hat blew off a few homes down. He was in the passenger seat and his friend at the wheel of an off-road vehicle, when they went to look for the hat.
“They made too sharp of a turn. I believe there was a soft spot in the ground. The vehicle rolled. Tanner was thrown from the vehicle,” said David.
David says although Tanner is an experienced, safety conscious off-road driver, he wasn't wearing a seat belt or helmet, because they were going such a short distance.
Tanner suffered several spinal fractures, and a damaged spinal cord, leaving him paralyzed from the waist down.
“To see your son in tears, all you want to do is hold him, help him,” said David. “At the same time, his spirits are high. He’s trying to make the nurses laugh.”
A few days ago, Tanner was flown out to a rehabilitation facility in Colorado.
As he heals, family friends, including Mike powers and Jim Hanson, have leapt into action.
”He’s got a heart that's enormous. He’s such a happy person, a genuinely awesome kid,” said Powers.
A Gofundme campaign was set up, as donations have poured in.
“We are blown away by the community support,” said Hanson.
On Wednesday morning, demolition began on their plans to make the family home in El Cajon, handicapped accessible.
“We just want to give him every opportunity to thrive when he gets recovered,” said Hanson.
The garage, which is connected to Tanner’s bedroom, will be turned into two new rooms, including an accessible bathroom.
“Blessed. A lot of love from these folks. It’s just amazing,” said an emotional David.
As for renovations, the hope is to have them complete in about 45 days, before Tanner returns home.