(left to right) Tanner Williams and his sister, Kristyn Puntenney


EPHRATA - A 26-year-old Ephrata man paralyzed by a severe spine injury over the weekend faces an uphill battle in life, but the torrent of community support will hopefully accelerate his recovery.

Friends of Tanner Williams say the accident happened on Saturday, July 25 at the Quilomene Dune along the Columbia River in Kittitas County.

Tanner’s sister, Kristyn Puntenney, the woman who organized a GoFundMe, says she isn’t exactly sure what happened, but Tanner was found floating in the river and had to be resuscitated by bystanders. Fortunately, the bystanders were EMTs with CPR training. Kristyn says the EMTs performed CPR on Tanner for 45 minutes. Tanner was transported to Quincy Medical Center where it was revealed that Tanner had a fracture in his neck and he was airlifted to Sacred Heart Hospital in Spokane. Kristyn says three-quarters of Tanner’s spinal cord had a lateral tear requiring installation of a titanium cage. After a successful surgery, Tanner is coherent and talking.

The GoFundMe organized by Kristyn to support her brother has raised over $33,000 in two days.

Time Out Pizza in Ephrata is holding a fundraising to support Tanner on August 4. 25% of all proceeds that day will be donated to Tanner’s family. GRANCO Federal Credit Union has started a donation account where people can donate to Tanner's cause. 

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