Willadsen Family Recovery Effort
Thank you for your generous donations. The outpouring of love and support has been comforting. A special thanks goes out to the Avondale Estates Community.
Dave and Jack moved into their temporary leased home in Decatur in mid-June. Very nice home, and we are happy that the insurance relocator service was able to put it together. After getting a bit use to institutional hospital care, it took Dave and Jack a few days to set-up a new routine. Before moving Dave said he was looking forward to having exterior windows so he could see things like 'rain' again. Funny how we take so many small things for granted.
Jack is doing very well. Young children are so resilient to such tragedies. He has returned to school and is attending the same school where he has been in pre-school since he was a baby. He has many friends there, and starts kindergarten this fall. Dave told me that everyone has been kind and understanding, although Jack gets a little shy when the older girls come up and hug him. Jack has physical therapy daily and many doctor appointments, and the smaller classes there make it easier to break away and catch up when he needs to leave for his appointments. Jack is walking much better but still has a few issues with nerve damage. He has been a real trooper in how he has accepted the daily routine of wearing compression garments to help the grafts heal and keep scaring to a minimum.
Dave? You can imagine what he is going through. Dave’s memories of Tami and Jess are much more ingrained and they form the fabric of who Dave is. I am sure you can understand the heartbreak he is experiencing. Things are getting better little by little, although it doesn’t take much – a song, a place, a face – for the nearly unbearable sorrow to return as it is never far away. That said, under the circumstances Dave is handling things as well as can be expected.
Dave is also dealing with all of the uncertainties of the future; mostly in regards to Jacks’ needs – physical, mental, and financial. The Grady Hospital bill was $1.2 million. Fortunately most was covered by insurance. This does not include the Scottish Rite Children’s Hospital and other bills related to Jack’s care which has also been mostly covered. It has been challenging to navigate the quagmire of medical billing in what is covered, and what is not. Maximum out of pocket doesn’t really seem to mean “maximum out of pocket”.
We have learned much about burn recoveries for small children. We did not realize that grafted skin does not grow like regular skin, so addition grafts will be needed until Jack is full grown. We did not know that skin taken from such as Jack’s stomach (donation site) will want to “think” it is still stomach skin after being grafted to his hands, and does not stretch like his natural “finger” skin. Physical therapy (mostly stretching) will be needed for life.
Fortunately through your kind donations, Dave and Jack have a cushion to help defray some of these expenses in the future. It gives Dave some peace of mind, not only for the monies itself, but all the friends and family that reached out to help and were there for them. We thought about closing this fund as the total has exceeded what we thought possible. However, we decided to keep it open for a while longer. Not to collect more funds, but more so we can continue to provide additional updates. I know at some point Dave wants to personally write an update.
In closing, this photo below is a picture of a framed photo from Tami's office at The Nature Conservancy. This is one of the most touching keepsakes I have found in Tami's belongings. At some point she received this fortune in a fortune cookie and it meant so much to her that I am sure she had that heartwarming smile on her face as she taped it to the frame. You could not go into Tami’s home and not feel the overwhelming happiness.
On behalf of Dave's family, thank you so much.
P.S. I am not sure if I posted before that we have a FaceBook page set-up in memory of Tami and Jess with pictures at; https://www.facebook.com/tamiandjess
We as a family are so proud of Dave and Jack on how they are handling the process to recover from this tragedy.
Yesterday I received a letter from an Executive of the Nature Conservancy. They recently honored Tami at their recent national meeting that was attended by hundreds.
He said; " I believe that the soul endures in those whose lives we touch, and those whose lives they touch forever, and ever. There is no question that Tami's touch endures in large and small ways, continuing to shape many of us and the world that we will leave for all life to come."
Thank you so much everyone for your love and support, and your prayers.
Jack will be coming out of his induced coma this week. He is still in intensive care so visitation is still limited to family and those helping with reading and helping with meals. He probably has three more weeks at Grady, then another 2-3 weeks at Scottish Rite.
Raging Burrito in Decatur is having a fundraiser Tuesday evening. Raging Burrito & Taco will be donating 25% of sales between 5-10pm to Dave & Jack Willadsen.
If you have not seen Jess's Nature Poster there is a photo below. We were just informed two weeks ago that she won first place in her division (they did not know of the tragedy). There were 2500 entries over 5 grade level divisions. I spoke to a spokesperson this am with The State Botanical Garden of GA. She told me that other units with the GA Dept of Natural Resources are interested in using Jess's poster image around the State. So proud of our Jess!
Please accept my apology if I can't respond to all emails. Just not enough time in the day. Thanks again for all of the support.
Time? I hear the Jack Rabbit Run may need some volunteers and roadside cheerers. Donations of edible treats to the incredible Burn Unit team at Grady are also much appreciated.
Just met Jack and father Dave at the Cincinnati Museum center today during one of the trips they have made up to Shriner's Hospital here in Cincinnati! Jack is a great kid and my son Branson really took a liking to him. They played all day. Just wanted to say that we enjoyed meeting Jack and Dave and that the Bedinghaus family has both in our thoughts and prayers. We hope to cross paths with them again in Cincinnati for a play date anytime! God bless you both.
Thank you for the update. Jack is doing so much better than I had hoped and prayed for! I love the pic of him with the storm troopers. I can see that he is well into his role as ambassador for other burn victims in helping people learn how to act naturally around him. BTW, I loved Emily Giffin's Heart of the Matter. Central to the story is the disfiguring burning of a beloved son's face. Although I cried when I read it, it might prove cathartic for your family. Emily is an Atlantan and consulted with a doctor at Children's Healthcare for the book. All the best to your dear family today and always!
Dear Mr. Eifrid - Thanks for posting this update. Jack is in school with my two children, and I know all his classmates at Montessori School at Emory are thinking of him often, and sending healing thoughts his way. So glad to hear he's going to be brought out of his coma soon. Please let the community know what else we can do to help, and what specific needs Jack and Dave may have. (Clothes? toys? books? other gear?)
Donation Done! Its not much but i hope its to some help
It sickens me that the incredibly thoughtful, tireless neighbor who set this fund site up is being harassed by "media" who only seek to bring attention to themselves with this unspeakable tragedy. Shame on those persons!
The Willadsen and Eifrid family would like to extend their most heartfelt appreciation for the overwhelmingly kind gestures of love from everyone. Tami and Jess were certainly two souls who regularly offered limitless generosity and multiple acts of happiness to the world. David and Jack are beginning a challenging but what we know will be a lovingly new journey together and will soon be well-established as a strongly dynamic father & son duo . . . unlike anything that the world has ever seen. Prayers are significantly essential and incredibly effective so please continue with those thoughts each day for them. Blessings to all, Aunt Jan
I don't know the family, but we live fairly close by and my daughter is set to start kindergarten with Jack at TMS. I am just wondering if there are specific things that are needed, aside from money.
My name is Endsley Real. My nephew was burned over 80% of his body in 2010. He is now doing great thanks to Grady and to the Shriners Hospital in Cincinnati that specializes in pediatric burns. Grady sent him there. He will continue to get care there until he is an adult at no cost to his parents. If I can be of any support please let me know. I am sure that brother and sister in law would be available too. You can contact me via FB.
Does anyone know what clothing sizes Dave wears?
The Rosenbluths want to just express our condolences, having worked on projects with Tami when our children were at ICS (International Community School) and just beginning to work with her at TMS (The Museum School) we personally know the impact she made on many with her tireless efforts. Wishing Jack and Dave both speedy recoveries physically and mentally, and sorry for your loss. We will remember Tami and Jess with great fondness.
Been think about Jack all day. Does anyone know how he is doing?
Any update on Dave and son?
My daughter has been friends and classmates with Jess for four years, and she, along with all of the other fourth graders at The Museum School, are beside themselves with grief. Jess was the kindest and most considerate child ever. She was also so smart and always positive. Her mother was a role model for all: president of our foundation, environmentalist, chair of many boards and always a giver. These two will be missed terribly by our community. Praying for Dave and Jack. We are all at a loss.
I am so sorry for this terrible loss. The fund mentions families - how many families are displaced and how are the funds to be split? I imagine the Willadson family needs tremendous support now and for quite some time. Are there others who will need more temporary help? It is a great thing to set up a site like this.
I thought I would never have to write this post. I still feel like I am in a dream and am going to wake up with everything the way it should be..but it's not. Jess, I love you. I love you more than you will ever know. You inspired me to read more, laugh a little harder, and look at things with a different perspective. Its a cliche I know, but I mean it. I told you one day you were going to make the biggest impact on the world and even though you had such little time, you did. You inspired us. I wish you could look around you and see all the impacts you have made on us. I hope you know how much you are loved by all those around you. Aunt Tami, I love you. The Wil Aunt Tami, I love you. - Jo
Katherine is grieving the loss of her friend, Jess. She is making a list of things to do for Dave and Jack. Our thoughts and prayers are with them.
I am Ronelle Willadsen and my husband Steve are trying to adjust to the loss of our dear daughter-in-law and precious granddaughter. We live in Iowa and so appreciate all you are doing for our dear children. Dave needs all your prayers because he will be lost without his girls. Jack is in very dire condition. Thank you all for caring.
I was Jess's piano teacher for about three years. She was one of the most delightful, creative, and talented children I've ever come across. I can hardly believe such a beautiful little girl, and her dear mother, are gone. Lord, have mercy!
I have an 8 year old boy with stuff he wants to donate (Legos, clothes, etc.). I will drop off at the posted address on Wiltshire. Is there a good time to come by - day/time?
re-linked: here is a helpful link as to what specific items might be of use: http://homeguides.sfgate.com/list-things-family-needs-after-house-fire-41747.html