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Family and friends fight to bring home national team rugby player injured in overseas crash

A fundraising match for North Vancouver's Nick Allen is being held Saturday at Capilano Rugby Club

Nick Allen is the guy that’s usually helping others out.

Ben Rebalski, who met Allen while playing rugby together at UBC, recalls several occasions.

“I’ve been down on the ground and an opponent’s been over top me and Nick’s come and blown them out of the way,” Rebalski said. “Or I missed a tackle and Nicky was right there behind me to make it.

“Several times throughout university, academically he definitely helped me and a lot of our buddies get through school because he was easily the smartest guy in our group. And he went on to show that by going through law school while he was playing sevens for Canada,” Rebalski continued.

Now Allen is the one who needs help.

On Nov. 7 the rugby star sustained severe injuries to his head and upper body in a serious motor vehicle crash in Bali, Indonesia. While his condition is stable, his costs of care are high and his loved ones are trying to bring him back to Canada as soon as possible.

A GoFundMe campaign that launched earlier this week has raised around $200,000 of a $550,000 goal. The campaign's original goal was set at $200,000, but Rebalski said it was raised after realizing costs would be much higher than first expected.

“Urgency is really key for us right now,” said Rebalski, who organized the campaign along with Allen’s family and a group of close friends. “He’s in a state where he can’t be transported by commercial flight because of some updates we received from the doctors, in terms of his brain injury.

“He’s stable, but he’s in a position where we don’t really want to be keeping him in Bali – we want him at home as soon as we can.” Transport is going to be expensive, Rebalski explained, because Allen requires some type of medevac air ambulance. Rebalski said Allen doesn't have travel insurance. 

At home games against UBC this Saturday, Capilano Rugby Club will also be raising funds. The club is asking everyone to bring $5 cash to the gate. There will be a bottle draw at the game, as well as an auction for a painting. All proceeds will go toward Allen’s recovery.

Allen has played for both UBC and Caps. The 26-year-old athlete was on Canada’s rugby sevens team for the past two seasons, and represented the country at the Commonwealth Games in July. He plays number 8 in 15s rugby and prop or hooker in sevens.

Allen grew up in Deep Cove in North Vancouver and went to school at Mulgrave in West Vancouver. He went on to finish both an undergraduate degree and law school at UBC.

For more information, or to make a donation, visit the GoFundMe page.

This article has been updated from its original version.

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