KITCHENER -- Zoey Waters has always been passionate about horseback riding.

“She comes in here every morning, always happy,” says her coach Chet Martin. “You never see her have a down day.”

The 18-year-old Baden woman had been training for a show in May.

But that all changed on December 17.

Zoey Waters

Waters was driving to the barn when she was involved in a head-on crash on Highway 6 north of Arthur.

Both she and another driver were taken to hospital.

Waters was later airlifted to Hamilton General Hospital where she remains in a coma and on life support.

Her family says she broke bones in both her ribs and legs, ruptured her spleen, had a collapsed lung, fractured her skull and is suffering from a serious brain injury.

“When the doctor comes into the room to update the family for the first time and you realized the extent of the injuries, you just… your heart just drops,” says her uncle Shane Waters. “You don’t know what kind of fight you have ahead of you or what kind of fight she has ahead of her.”

Family and friends have set up a GoFundMe account to raise money for Waters’ recovery.

Zoey Waters

Rebecca Errey, the organizer of the page, says the money will be used for the family’s travel and living expenses, uninsured therapies and any other unexpected costs.

“Zoey still lays in a coma for days yet to come,” she writes. “If she continues to heal as she is they will do further neurological testing at the end of the week to make a plan of what will be next to come in her healing process.”

Waters’ friends are hopeful she’ll be able to return to the thing she loves most – horseback riding.

Martin says her horse Brandy will be ready for Waters when she returns.

“She may not be quite ready for [competition in] May. But we’re hoping we’ll be able to get her back in the barn at least.”

zoey waters

Her family says they’re overwhelmed with the support from the community.

“It’s some positivity in such a tragic situation,” says Shane Waters. “It keeps us smiling and keeps us believing that this will be OK.”

Since the fundraiser launched it has already raised more than $22,000 in three days.