He attempted an insane, 32 foot jump, and overshot it by 6 feet. He went down, and broke 3 (C4, C5, C6) of the 7 vertebrae in his neck. He was instantly paralyzed from the chest down. Alex was admitted to Sharp Memorial on Aug 5, and had neck surgery Aug 6 to rebuild and stabilize his neck. He has endured breathing masks, a breathing tube, tracheotomy, excruciating nerve pain, all while being trapped in a body that no longer functions. He has since been trapped inside the surgical ICU with a feeding tube and ventilator at Sharp Memorial Hospital.
6 feet Changed his life!
Alex was accepted to Humboldt State University, and was supposed to start their Environment Resource Engineering Last week. Alex has always loved ANYTHING outdoors. He sold his XBOX years ago to buy his first surfboard (he now owns 3). Alex's parents always promoted outdoor activities.
Here are a few of Alex's passions:
Alex volunteered often with SDMBA to help build biking trails, and held Strava records in Mission Trails park
Alex surfed many local San Diego Breaks
Alex hiked, backpacked, and camped in the Eastern Sierras, Northern California, Utah, Arizona, Nevada.
Alex trained for Rock Climbing at Mesa Rim Gym, and climbed at Santee Boulders, Mission Trails, and Bishop
Alex rode motorcycles in the local desert and is respected by the San Diego Dirt Bike Community
Alex and his dad just completed a Father-Son Dual-Sport motorcycle ride of 2,788 Miles
Alex captured amazing photography with High Tech High classmates
Alex, with the support of his family, has decided to transfer to the best Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) rehab hospital in the Western United States. Alex will move to Craig Hospital for Rehab as soon as he is medically stable, hopefully by the end of next week. Craig Rehab requires family support, and that’s one reason why we chose them. We wouldn't do this any other way. So… the Uppenkamp family (parents, Mike/Tina, and brothers, Michael/Thomas) will be moving to Englewood Colorado (South of Denver) to support Alex, and each other, through this new path. Mike and Tina are on family medical leave for this part of Alex's long journey of recovery. Michael and Thomas decided to put their own college studies on hold for the year to support Alex.
This is where we need your support. We are very lucky that the majority of the hospital/rehab cost is covered by the insurance, but our family will be incurring many extra expenses, such as travel to/from Denver, housing for the family in Denver, medical equipment, home and vehicle modifications, etc.
We have an amazing network of family/friends who have been supporting us during this new journey. We appreciate all of the prayers, positive healing vibes, and all of your acts of love and kindness. Words cannot describe how grateful we feel for everyone's love and support!
- Valerie Barr
- Gregory Zarkhin
- Monica Muilenburg
- Nick McMullen
- Mackenzie McMullen
Fundraising team: Team Uppenkamp (5)
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