Sam Bagdan

Hello family and friends, as most of you know, our son Sam was struck by a car August 3rd. He was living in Rochester, (first summer away from home!) doing a co-op work study for school at RIT. Sam was riding his bicycle home from a fencing event, at dusk, and collided with a car while going through an intersection. The driver called 911. She and several other drivers stopped and stayed with Sam until EMS got there, he was unresponsive.

I was in California that night, with Sam's 17 year old brother Luke. I had gone out to Pasadena for a week long intensive class at Fuller Theological Seminary. When I got the call from the hospital, Luke and I were an hour away from LA, at an airbnb we had gotten for the week. They wanted me to get there, Rochester-NY, as soon as possible, and no, they couldn't tell me anything about Sam's condition. Thank God, for many reasons, that Luke went with me that week! Luke GPS'd us through Friday-night-LA-traffic and kept talking me down from panic as I drove.

WEEKS 1-4:
Sam suffered sever head injury as a result of the accident. One of the veins in his head tore and bled into his head, resulting in a stroke and increased pressure in his skull. At Strong Memorial Hospital, in Rochester, he had emergent surgery to stop the bleed and relieve pressure by removing a good size piece of his skull. Thank God for the quick and competent medical response Sam received in Rochester. Sam had four surgeries while in Rochester. They saved his life.

While in Rochester we keep constant vigil over Sam. We watched as Sam teetered on the fence between life and death, not knowing what the outcome of all this would be. The first week we slept at my Uncle Ray's house and he even offered us the use of his car. The following weeks we crashed at the Rochester Ronald McDonald House-what a God send! God surrounded us with loving family, all pitching in to carry us through this trauma. For this I am so grateful.

After spending 4 and 1/2 weeks in the Neuro ICU at Strong, Sam was finally stable enough to transfer to Boston. Sam had not woken up yet. He had a trach in his neck for breathing, was still on the ventilator and had a tube placed in his stomach for feeding. In Boston he would be closer to home and able to do some rehab while we waited for him to wake up and for his skull piece, also called a "bone flap," to be replaced. The ambulance ride would have been brutal- 7+ hours strapped to a skinny stretcher, rocking around in the back of a truck, so I researched flight options. A friend of mine, also a pilot, suggested Grace On Wings. This organization flies medical transports in the U.S. as an outreach of God's love. We were only charged for jet fuel and ground transport- $11,000-a lot, for sure, but so much better than the $35,000 a standard medical flight would have been. Amazing. This team was highly professional, prompt, funny, and loved God and us! We all prayed for Sam before boarding the plane and then again after they got him into the hospital bed in Boston.

WEEK 5+: We have been in Boston for three weeks now. The first two weeks he spent at Spaulding Rehab in Cambridge. Here Sam was able to do PT, OT and have ample visits from family.

Then, in the last week and 1/2, Sam declined neurologically due to the negative pressure in his head. To correct this he needs the bone flap replaced. Now we wait, at Mass General, and Sam is lying out flat, the only position he is currently tolerating. Sam's dad, Paul, and I take turns staying by Sam's side in two day intervals. Paul is teaching classes on line this quarter at Johnson and Wales (I don't know how he's doing it! I can barely keep up with texting everyone) I have taken a leave of absence from work and seminary. Wayne visits often, is running the household errands, and has returned to work; my mom is living with us, for the near future, and taking care of Zuri and Luke. It's a lot. But through the prayers and actions of family and friends, God's presence is sustaining us. We are so blessed.

We've asked for donations to cover the cost of Sam's medical flight ($11,000), the initial ground transport ($1,200), and the lawyer fees (estimated at $3,800) associated with securing legal guardianship-because he's 20 y.o. and considered an adult. What?! We, his parents, couldn't sign consents or get medical and school records for him with out obtaining legal authority. This recovery process is gong to take years and we are in it for the long haul with this kid! That being said, thank God for family and community- we truly need each other. Thank you for all your prayers and support.
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Sarah Riley 
Swansea, MA
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