Thank you for taking the time to visit this site. What you are about to embark on is a true story about a young man who looked death in to the eyes and refused to let every one of his fears stop him from being the man he was meant to be.
My name is Karrin Russo. I started my brother's Go Fund Me back in October while he was in the SICU. Joey had to go through multiple craniectomies due to constant swelling. These were all unexpected surgeries requiring multiple doctors. I was afraid that if this would not be covered by insurance the doctors wouldn't continue to help stop the devastation that could have been caused by brain swelling and bleeding. This was the original purpose. Its been a blessing to have so many friends and family assist Joey.
After some time I continued to use this site to keep everyone up to date with my brothers surgeries and recovery. The most important thing that came out of sharing my brothers progress were the prayers and constant positivity gifted to us.
Here is his story.
10.22.2017 -- 4:30 pm
My brother's life was changed forever.
Around 4 pm on a beautiful Sunday evening, Joey was on his way to my father's house to help move furniture. Time went by while my father was waiting on his arrival. Joey was no where to be found. Around this time my dad received a call from an old friend who drove by an accident. He stopped to help, and recognized the young man to be my brother.
I was running the light rail in CLT, NC 600 miles from home when I received a phone call from my father. "Joey has been in an accident. He was airlifted and I don't know where to...it doesn't look good, Karrin. Call your mother and let her know".
I spent hours making phone calls to friends and hospitals nearby. It took hours to figure out where my brother was. Finally by 9pm we found out he was brought to RWJ (Rutgers) Hospital in New Brunswick and sent immediately in to an emergency brain surgery. I took a flight that night straight to NJ. I prayed the entire way. By 4 am I learned my brother's surgery was complete and he was stable...for then.
Joey had been in a coma for two weeks before he started to move his arms a bit and blink his eyes. Doctor's said he was improving but then unfortunately experienced some setbacks.
He was diagnosed with Pneumonia and a chest infection due to broken ribs which caused him to become unresponsive and triggered collapsed lungs. At the same time he was brain hemeraging and rushed into the operation room for multiple emergency craniectomies. He had to have three chest tubes to drain the infection as well as a tube to remove brain fluid. He had a breathing tube, feeding tube and peg placed to help him breath and eat.
My brother went through a third brain surgery. The brain pressure was not giving up.
The doctor came over to us when he was completed with his procedure to warn us of what may occur. I asked what would happen if it did not stop swelling. He just looked at me with a sort of sadness and loss for words.
I sat with my brother holding his hands tighter than ever, and prayed for hours.
His doctor however did assure that with these type of injuries, sometimes, it is worse before it gets better. Sort of like a bruise.
With constant watch and help by the amazing doctors and nurses the recovery began to improve. My brother's swelling lessened and he began moving and coming out of his coma.
December - February
My brother eventually was moved to an inpatient rehabilitation at the JFK Edison Hospital in the brain injury unit.
He spent weeks to months relearning how to speak, use words properly, walk, eat.
I never thought or imagined myself feeding my own brother at our age, but I was so happy to do so.
He had lost a lot of weight from being in the SICU and from lack of exercise. Over time he gained it back.
HE worked hard. I have never seen anyone work as hard as my brother.
He'd call me from his phone every hour and every day . In his low quiet voice "Hey. Karrin, when are you going to be here to get me out of this place?" . I found it cute. He still had a lot of recovery to go through but all he had on his mind was coming home, seeing is dog Jackson, and going back to work. He loves his job more than anything.
Joey finally gets to come back home.
They do say, home is where the heart is. I believe that to be true.
Joey's true physical recovery really peaked when he got back home to my mothers.
He was able to start walking better, and memories came back.
We continued to bring him a few times a week to an out patient to work on memory and physical rehabilitation.
June 6th 2017
Joey finally goes back to work part time.
By Summer he was able to go back to work full time. This young man, who had such a serious injury, literally WANTS to go back to work daily from 4am-5pm. He is a true hero.
Joey had spent months in a state of mind, that I could not ever imagine. Relearning everything he spent 27 years to excel at. Doctors and therapists were pleasantly surprised with Joey's outcome. In the beginning everyone thought he would either not make it or have many, many disabilities. I cant even say how many times the brain surgeon would tell me if he pulls through he would not be the "same Joe you knew before". I am proud to say, to those who never believed in true strength, courage, and faith...you were all wrong. My brother is my hero. He taught me how we all need to be confident, kind, faithful to god, and strong. Most importantly to believe in yourself.
My name is Karrin Russo. I am an advocate for my brother and will forever share his story to everyone I meet. I believe this experience could help others in many ways.
Thank you to everyone, friends, family, and strangers, who supported my brother through prayer, supporting our Go Fund Me, and helping us to think positive when times were rough. Thank you for being there for Joey and my family.
Please pray for Joey everyday! He means the world to me, his friends and his family.
THANK YOU FOR YOUR GENOROSITY !!
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