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Fundraiser launched for B.C. couple whose home was swept down Nicola River

Kim Cardinal and Lorn Thibodeau’s entire property along Highway 8 is gone
Kim Cardinal and husband Lorn Thibodeau’s riverside property was swept down the Nicola River on Nov. 15. A fundraiser has been set up to help them. (GoFundMe)

A fundraiser has been set up for a former Chilliwack couple whose retirement home was swept down the Nicola River during last Monday’s torrential downpour.

Kim Cardinal and husband Lorn Thibodeau’s riverside property – which included a house, shop and cabin – was located along Highway 8 between Spences Bridge and Merritt.

They lived and worked in Chilliwack for 30 years before buying their retirement property two years ago. They had returned to their home along the Nicola River just two months ago after having to evacuate this past summer for three months as a result of the B.C. wildfires.

“After a terrible summer being evacuated from their home, Lorn and Kim have now lost their home and almost all of their belongings. They watched as their home was swept away right in front of them,” wrote niece Melissa MacKay on the GoFundMe page.

“Their entire property was taken over by the Thompson-Nicola River, everything is gone.”

Friend Jeff Bonner put their story into a video and shared it on social media. It includes raw footage Kim shot of their house in the river on Nov. 15.

(Video produced by Jeff Bonner)

With the road washed out in both directions, the couple was stranded overnight and they built a fire to keep warm. Twenty-four hours later, crews in a Telus helicopter flying overhead spotted them along with an RCMP officer who was with them.

Kim was rescued on Nov. 16 while Lorn stayed behind with the animals for four days until he and the animals could be airlifted out.

Kim and Lorn’s children who live in Chilliwack are now asking for folks to help their parents.

“Insurance is not covering them, they still owe a mortgage on land that does not exist anymore,” said son Michael Thibodeau.

ICBC is also not covering his parents’ trailer and truck that was left abandoned on the road as there was no damage done to the vehicles, he added.

Additionally, Lorn who still works at Prime Signs in Chilliwack, hasn’t been able to work for two years due to an injury.

“If you can spare anything to help them it would mean a lot as they have a long road ahead of them. They planned on retiring here and now that has been ripped away from them,” MacKay said.

“Lorn and Kim are the people who would give the shirts off their backs to help anyone or animal. Please help if you can.”

To donate to Kim and Lorn, go to


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Jenna Hauck

About the Author: Jenna Hauck

I started my career at The Chilliwack Progress in 2000 as a photojournalist.
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