In a YouTube video posted Thursday, Nick Ekbatani, the former UCLA lineman whose left leg was amputated below the knee after a traffic collision Saturday, thanked his friends and family for the support they've given him over the past week.
"You guys mean the world to me," says the sunglasses-wearing Ekbatani in the video. "My life would not be complete without you."
Ekbatani, 25, was injured when his motorcycle collided with a taxicab making a left turn from southbound Pacific Coast Highway onto Diamond Street in South Redondo Beach on Saturday night. Ekbatani, who was wearing his helmet, was thrown from the bike.
Since then, friends have begun raising money to pay for Ekbatani's prosthesis, and so far, more than 700 individual donations have added up to more than $48,000 of the $50,000 goal.
"It's really unbelievable … I just wanted to have a little bit of money to pay for his medical bills," Kim Macedo, Ekbatani's friend who organized the donation website, told Patch on Tuesday. Within 24 hours of the fund's establishment on Monday, the site had raised nearly $25,000.
In addition to using the website to raise money, Macedo has been providing updates on Ekbatani's condition.
"Today Nick was asked to get up and try to move around a little bit," Macedo wrote late Wednesday night. "Due to the nature of his condition, the doctors ask that he pull himself out of bed, stand for a couple seconds, and slide over to a wheelchair, all to get some blood circulating to prevent blood clots. Poor guy didn't care too much for that."
Ekbatani will undergo another surgery on Friday to clean up his femur plates to prepare him for a prosthesis, Macedo said Thursday.
To donate to the "Big Nick Fund," visit gofundme.com/venb8.