Kayaker succumbs to injuries
Lindsay Ashton, seen in this photo from a GoFundMe page, died June 14 from injuries she sustained May 28 on the Swan River at Bigfork.
By MACKENZIE REISS
Daily Inter Lake | June 23, 2021 1:27 PM
A kayaker who sustained a head injury and nearly drowned while paddling on the Swan River May 28 has died. Lindsay Ashton, of Missoula, passed away the afternoon of Monday, June 14, her friend, Autumn Barnes-Fraser, told the Bigfork Eagle Wednesday. Ashton was life-flighted to Logan Health Medical Center following the accident and was placed in a medically induced coma for multiple days, according to posts on CaringBridge.org, a website used to share updates on an individual’s medical status.
Ashton was not competing in the Bigfork Whitewater Festival, which took place that same weekend, but was doing a few fun runs on the Swan River with friends. The section of water Ashton was paddling on is known as the Wild Mile for its sizable Class IV rapids.
“The Lindsay we love, the Lindsay who loved us, has already let go of her earthly form, but it is our job to take care of her body, to give it the rest and release it deserves,” Barnes wrote in a heartfelt post on June 14. “Live like Lindsay did: By finding joy in the smallest things, look on the bright side without minimizing your very real pain, and putting an extra slab of butter on your toast this morning.”
A GoFundMe setup for her benefit raised $57,408 from 758 donors in a matter of weeks. A funeral was held June 22 in Helena and additional services are planned in Missoula this weekend. A celebration of life will be held from 4 to 6 p.m. June 26 at the West Side Studio and Theater, 1200 Shakespeare St., Ste. 2, in Missoula, with a potluck to follow. Barnes-Fraser noted the event is open to those who knew Ashton.
A Helena native who lived in Missoula, Ashton worked as a wildland firefighter during the summer months and was very active in the outdoors — whether it was kayaking, skiing, mountain biking or paragliding, her GoFundMe page stated.
Contributions can be made by visiting www.gofundme.com/f/support-for-lindsay-ashton.