The collision resulted in one fatality and numerous injuries. Garrett sustained major injuries to his spinal cord; he currently has no feeling or movement from the upper chest down. While Garrett remains in care at Mass General Hospital in Boston, he will be transferred to a specialized spinal cord injury rehabilitation center in either Boston or Central NJ in the coming days. There is absolutely no doubt that Garrett possesses the determination to excel in his recovery.
Garrett and his fiance Joan recently moved to Boston in September 2015. Prior to the accident, they were busy planning their beautiful wedding, scheduled for March 2016, enjoying Boston and adjusting to their new jobs. They now are faced with a very long road of intense rehabilitation to regain what was taken from Garrett. His rehab will be grueling, both emotionally and physically for Garrett and Joan.
In addition to the physical and emotional toll caused by the accident, Garrett and Joan will also face severe financial burdens. Scott and I are setting up this GoFundMe account as a way for friends and family to show their love and support for two honest, hard working and incredible people, who mean everything to us. No donation is too small. Together we can provide tremendous financial relief for Garrett and Joan.
Garrett's Best Men,
Rob Freed and Scott Ackerman
Any questions can be directed to Rob at firstname.lastname@example.org
At around 7:05pm on December 29, 2015 I missed a phone call from Garrett. He called me again immediately after. I always told Garrett never call me twice in a row unless it was an emergency. I knew something was very wrong. When I spoke to him he could not feel or move anything below the top of his shoulders. His head hurt because he was seeing double. When I saw Garrett at the first hospital he smiled at me and said "hey babe." While I knew nothing of what our life was going to look like from that point forward I knew it was going to be ok and we were going to figure out whatever "ok" was going to be.
Three hundred and sixty five days later Garrett's vision has completely recovered from seeing double. He is able to move his right arm very functionally and is able to use his right wrist to help hold and pick up objects. He has twitching in his right tricep. We recently learned his left arm has more damage than the right from the seatbelt so we are exploring all of our options for improvement. He is able to use his left bicep with gravity eliminated and left shoulder strength is getting stronger everyday. While sitting in a small waiting room on December 29th 2015 I told my mom the that all I would ever want Garrett to be able to do is hug me. Today he gives me the best, strongest right armed bear hugs that I could ever ask for (if you see him you should ask for one because they are pretty great !).
Our new reality is something that we are continuing to settle into. This year can be summed up as our year of recreating. I stopped saying "rebuilding" recently because I realized you do not have to rebuild something that isn't broken. Throughout all of this Garrett's spirit, drive and determination has not waived once. To know Garrett is to know someone who continuously pushes forward with strength and grace despite any odds. His inability to give up and his willingness to try again and again in the face of diversity is truly amazing. Garrett has never been one to sit on the sidelines of life. He has always strived to be a better person both inside and out. He is still the same man he was before his accident. He has a thirst and vigor for life that I am very much jealous of.
As I said I have learned a lot this year. The biggest thing that I have learned this year is the power of love and the human spirit. I've learned this through Garrett and I've learned this through all of you. Thank you for your continued support, generosity and love. We have created a pretty wonderful life this year and it's very much in part because of all of you. I'd like to take a second to thank our family, especially my parents for their love and support this year.
2016 was a bit bumpy but it was a year spent with my best friend and love of my life. So I can't complain!
Thank you again for all of your support. Our gratitude knows no bounds.
Here's to a happy and healthy 2017!
I will leave you with super cute picture of my two best friends!
With all the love and appreciation a heart could hold,
Garrett continues to amaze me with his sense of humor and hard work. Since our last update, Garrett has made some nice gains. He loves pool therapy, has been soaking up every minute at the gym(Journey Forward), and has made great progress with his right arm and left/right shoulder strength. His new favorite activity is using a slide board to transfer onto the couch. He continues to impress his therapists with what he can do. He tries his best to meet each day with a smile, good attitude and hopeful heart.
Last night we were invited to New Hampshire by the Secret Service to a final campaign event with President Barack Obama. It was truly wonderful to watch Garrett be able to reconnect with his Secret Service family. Watching him speak with agents was a joy for me. There was a sparkle in his eye that I have not seen for many, many months. At one point before the speakers began I watched Garrett roll next to the stage (probably to make sure that all of the entrances and exits were secure ;). I watched him and became overwhelmed with pride. It's been just over 10 months. 10 months of heartbreak, loss, joy and rebuilding. Now 10 months later, there Garrett was at an event with his colleagues with a huge smile on his face, the likes of which words can't do justice. Being at the event, in the arena, dressed in a suit, with his colleagues to protect our President was such a wonderful realization to me. No matter what, Garrett is on his way back, and I know things will only continue to get better. He doesn't know it the way I know it, but he is a remarkable man with only the greatest things in store.
We have good days and we have bad, but days like yesterday, your thoughts and kind words make everything worth it. We could not and would not be where we are now without all of you.
Again- thank you all for your support, and generosity. We are grateful everyday.
With all the love and appreciation a heart can hold,
Garrett is interviewed at the Harold Vitale Memorial Foundating annual golf outing this past Monday night.
We were forced by GoFundMe to remove all mention of our recent efforts.
Last night, Garrett was honored by the Harold Vitale Memorial Foundation, which remembers fallen and injured law enforcement officers. Through our efforts, we were able to help Joan and Garrett further.
Congratulations are in order for:
Phillip McNulty (Casa DeCampo, Dominican Republic)
Jack McGlynn (Las Vegas)
Bill Goade (Pinehurst)
You will all be contacted by a rep from the Harold Vitale Foundation.
I will return to posting more regular medical oriented updates. Garrett continues to spend nearly 40 hours per week at dedicated physical therapy for his recovery as well as spending additional time doing home exercises. He remains in a motorized wheel chair and determined.
Please continue to keep Garrett and Joan in your thoughts.
I want to first start out by saying how sorry I am that this accident and injury happened and I sincerely hope that you make a full recovery. My son was in an auto accident 3 years ago at the age of 17 and is a C4-5 quad. I'd like to address "Roxanne" who is so concerned about where the money is going. Although my son was not injured on duty, we did have incredible insurance coverage that has and continues to pay for his medical needs. What they haven't and never will pay for is the time his father and I were out of work or the travel expenses we incurred when we have brought him to different rehab facilities trying to get him the best care. My point is, I'm sure most, if not all of Garrett's medical bills will be paid by workers comp and auto insurance policies but that is truly just a small bit of the picture here. Maybe the funds will help them get a house or if they have one, keep the house. Maybe the funds will allow his devoted wife to take a leave of absence to help him in his recovery without having to worry about not having her paycheck, maybe the funds will allow his family to be closer to him and participate in his rehab and learn what has to be learned in order to help Garrett return home. I think we can safely assume that this family is not misrepresenting the fund or their needs. If you are really so concerned about what your donation went to and you are having regrets or second thoughts about donating and feel the need to continue to burden the family with questions about where the money is going, let me know and I will personally refund you your donation.
It is so hard to hear of another spinal cord injury. You have lots of work ahead of you and it is clear, a lot of love to get you through it. Our son broke his neck skateboarding, blew out the entire C5 vertebra and fractured several others. Early on he could not move below the neck. Soon the middle fingers on one hand moved in a very small way . He has worked extremely hard to recover whatever possible. He spent the first 3 months at Spaulding Rehab in Boston. Since he has trained at Journey Forward and Project Walk Boston. He has a private trainer who specializes in SCI recovery, and OT and PT at our local hospital. He also has chiropractic treatment. We have watched him relearn everything but now, 19 months later, he is walking with a forearm cane. His gait is different but he is walking!! Do not give up. Next week he is moving to a college campus, away from home for the first time post injury. I don't know where his drive came from but it is his determination combined with his young age (21) that has shaped his recovery. Please reach out if you would like to talk. We are north of Boston.
Dear Garrett John, I was so sad to hear of the terrible accident you were in. I am praying for a speedy recovery and for God to give you and Joan the strength you need to move on. I haven't seen you since you were about 10 years old but I sure remember your cute little face and big smile from second grade. I have passed the word along and you have plenty of your 'old' teachers keeping you in their thoughts and prayers!! Love, Mrs. D xoxo
Garret's story is certainly one of tragedy, reminding all Americans of how the life you are living can change in one instant in which the circumstances are out of your control. As a fellow American and the fellow victim of a catastrophic car accident in which the circumstances were out of my hands, I understand somewhat the feelings Garrett and Joan may be experiencing regarding the situation they have found themselves in now. Garrett's story is certainly one of tragedy, but also one of honor and the determination to regain the abilities which he can. I am so proud of Joan. Her love of her best friend and husband are so beautiful and evident in her posts about his progress. Many people would simply say, "This is too difficult for ME, I'm not staying with this person now that they can't walk, move, feed themselves, etc...but she is dedicated and loving and not going anywhere. She is a lady is grace and dignity. I've worked with members of the Secret Service during the McCain Presidential Campaign of 2008, they are dedicated men and women dedicated to serving our country and completing the jobs they are assigned to. survivor, my heart and prayers are certainly with both Joan and Garrett. God has sparred his life, He certainly has plans ahead for this great man.
Dear Garrett John, I cant stop thinking about you.I never forget how proud your dad was when you were out on that field playing soccer. We were standing next to each other on the sideline and I told your dad you were fearless, and nobody can stop you from getting a goal. Five minutes later you scored and me and your dad screamed out loud with joy . I COULD SEE IN YOUR DADS EYES HOW PROUD HE WAS OF YOU. The Callan family has you in our prayers. You are one of the most respected individuals I have known in my lifetime. Stay strong , keep positive and work your but off in rehab. Will continue to pray for a good recovery.
I feel very bad for this having happened to him and I wish that he will recover as much as is possible for him, and I hate to turn this into some soapbox so I will be brief in saying that it's completely unacceptable that this guy was actually on active duty for the federal government and he didn't have adequate health insurance to cover this. We really need to take better care for people who take jobs (like this and in the military) that put them in harm's way.
Hello to all....I don't know if you are aware but in today's Peter King column on si.com, your cause is mentioned http://mmqb.si.com/mmqb/2016/01/18/cardinals-packers-hail-mary-coin-flip-nfl-divisional-playoffs (at the end "10. I think these are my non-football thoughts of the week:" I am a rugby player and have forwarded your page out to 1200+ other ruggers in the US and a few especially in NYC....GOOD LUCK GARRETT....the try line is in sight!
You are in my prayers for a quick recovery. Seeing all the comments here shows me how much you are loved. Don't be discouraged, healing takes time. Take the time to care for yourself and let others do things for you. I was paralyzed from the chest down, in 1989. Doctors said I would never walk again but they were wrong. I'm a walking miracle. So, live and don't let negativity get you down. There is someone up above. xoxoxo
Dear Garrett, I was so sad to hear about the accident you were in. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. You are one of the strongest and most courageous people and I just wanted to let you know that you have the strength and support of all your family and friends behind you. If there is anything we can do please do not hesitate to ask. Warmest wishes for a speedy recovery from myself and both the Lagatella and Callan families.