A spaghetti feed to help purchase a Quad Rugby Chair for quadriplegic Dwayne Nystrom is planned for March 16 and the community is invited.
Organized by longtime family friend Diane Ungles, the event marks the second time she has hosted a fund-raising event for Nystrom. The first one was in 2010 when she organized a small bowling tournament in Pollock Pines that ended up attracting 300 to 400 people.
Nystrom became a quadriplegic after a freak accident in 2009 when he tripped in his garage, hit his head against a refrigerator and broke his neck. Prior to the accident, he was an excavation contractor for close to 10 years and active in a variety of sports.
Ungles said the accident affected more than just Nystrom. It also affected his parents and friends. The result was an outpouring of love and support. In the case of his parents, they moved out of their home so Nystrom and his family could have a bigger place to live. For Ungles, it has meant cheering him on at rugby matches and organizing fund-raisers for him.
Married with three children, the 39-year-old Nystrom says he is now a regular Mr. Mom. His wife works out of the home so he does the cooking, cleaning, chauffering, lawn work, and maintenance around the house.
He started playing quad rugby because “it enabled me to get exercise, be free, and be involved in something that makes me feel good.”
Now he is the highpoint man of a team called the Sierra Storm that meets twice a week in Sacramento for practice. “They’re a great group of people who make me want to be out and play with them,” he said. “It’s a very physical sport. It’s like football. We fall out of our chairs. It’s very brutal at times. The first name for the game was ‘murder ball’ but they changed it because it was difficult to get sponsors with a name like that.”
Ungles said she and Nystrom’s parents are groupies who regularly attend his meets to cheer for him. “It’s emotional watching them,” she said. “Some players don’t have arm movement but when they play, they are mean and crude and very competitive.”
Nystrom said so far he has been able to borrow the chair of someone else but he needs his own. The fundraiser will help him purchase a Quad Rugby wheelchair called a Melrose Rhino. The chair, which costs $5,200, is designed just for quadriplegics like Nystom.
Spaghetti, cake, raffles and more
Ungles said plans for the fund-raiser are coming along, with 130 people already signed up. But they welcome everyone to attend.
She said will be a DJ on hand to play music and they will be raffling off a variety of donated items, including cakes, gift cards, and items made by Nystrom.
One of Nystrom’s hobbies is making wall decorations from old silverware. Some of those will be raffled off as well as wine racks he has made out of skis and miniature metal rugby chairs.
Ungles said support for the event has come from a large number of local businesses.
Bel Air Supermarket in Cameron Park is donating most of the food, including the pasta, sauce, butter, water, and sodas. The Fifty Grand Steakhouse in Pollock Pines is donating the hamburger and bread. She said other businesses have donated more than 50 raffle prizes.
“The generosity in this community is overwhelming,” she said, “especially in these tough times.”
Also on hand for the event will be Nystrom’s rugby team who will be coming from all over Northern California and Nevada, including three from Sacramento, two from San Francisco, two from Davis, and two from the Reno-Truckee area.
The fundraiser will be held Saturday, March 16 from 4 to 8 p.m. at the Firefighters Memorial Hall, 501 Main Street in Diamond Springs. The cost is $15 for adults and $10 for children under the age of 10. Donations can also be made at El Dorado Savings in the name of Dwayne Nystrom.
For tickets or more information, contact Ungles at 530-417-2310.
Contact Dawn Hodson at 530-344-5071 or [email protected] Follow @DHodsonMtDemo on Twitter.