VANCOUVER - As a Shark Club employee, Desiree Evancio was a familiar face to the NFL Sunday pub crowd. So her friends and colleagues figured a football fundraiser would be a good way to raise money for the 24-year-old who suffered catastrophic injuries to her face, arms and legs when she was dragged four blocks by a van towing a trailer on Thanksgiving day.

“She should be dead, but she's not dead. She doesn’t have any brain damage or bleeding into her brain. It’s the miracle of the accident,” said Lexi McCaffrey, who organized the 12 hour fundraiser at the Lamplighter Pub in Gastown. She hopes to raise at least $5,000 for Evancio’s recovery, who’s expected to be in hospital for six to 12 months and will need extensive rehabilitation.

“This isn't for the surgeries she's having in hospital right now, this is for when she gets out of hospital. She's s going to need care for a very long time, and will need counselling,” said McCaffrey.

“All she wants to do is move and she wants to talk, that’s probably the saddest part. She can't talk at all, and it’s going to take her a few months before she can talk again,” said Kat Radovic, Evancio’s best friend and roommate. “The more she wakes up and they try to put her back to sleep, the more she realizes what’s happening. She can't express herself, right? She gets angry she's angry because no one’s telling her what’s going on.”

Radovic says today’s fundraiser is just the beginning. “We're going to continue doing this for a long time, so what I hope most is we continue to get turn-outs like this. We’re going be here all day for 12 hours. Maybe not every time it’s going to be 12 hours, but hopefully in the future we can do something like this every month or every couple of months as time goes by.”

She hopes the tremendous support Evancio is receiving from both friends and strangers gives her strength to heal. “The goal really is to make her understand she still has a purpose, regardless of how terribly she was effected by the situation,” said Radovic.