Capt. Donnie has been a Florida Keys boat captain for over 35 years, mostly at Ocean Reef. Just a week before Christmas, Capt. Don had a debilitating stroke at the age of 55 leaving him with little movement on the right side of his body. The first year of rehabilitation is critical, as that is the recovery period. Please donate anything you can to help Donnie return to the water, the place he loves the most so he can continue to be the friend, mentor, and captain we all know and love.
For more details on Donny, his story, and his current status and needs please read below.
Donnie is a Florida Keys resident, residing in Key Largo where he has been a boat captain and master diver/free diver guide for over 35 years.
For most of Capt. Donnie’s 35 years on the water, he has mainly worked with family and friends from the Ocean Reef Club located in Key Largo. He has become a part of the community and is a great friend to everyone at Ocean Reef. The employees, families their children, and visitors, Donnie always took the time to make everyone have a great day on the Ocean. He has so many close relationships with families that we consider him family. He has taught so many of our kids to fish, dive, free dive, spearfish, lobstering, hod dog, surf, and grow up!
Just a week before Christmas, Donnie had a debilitating stroke at the age of 55 that paralyzed the right side of his body. He was in his apartment alone when the stroke occurred, unable to move or communicate he was not discovered for two days. Donnie is single, no children, with his closest family living in Virginia. This tragedy hit at a time when Donnie had no health coverage. Going forward Donnie and his family will face a mountain of rehabilitation and living expenses.
The goal is for Donnie to return to Virginia and live with family where he will receive daily outpatient therapy to recover from this stroke. Donnie has spent the past three months in South Miami Hospital, rehabilitating his motor functions from the initial paralysis. Since April 1st, Donnie has regained motor functions that enabled him to move to an Acute Rehabilitation Center in Pompano. Here he has made great progress, he is able to stand and walk with a specialized walker under supervision for short distances. He has regained 50% use of his right leg, 5% of his right arm, and regained 90% of his speech. Donnie is in great spirits and positive about his recovery.
Donnie has one year to regain as much motor function as possible. After one year the likelihood of further recovery is very low. The doctor’s prognosis on how much functionality Donnie will regain is dependent on daily specialized therapy. Donnie’s plan is to move from the Acute Rehab Center that he is in now, to a family home in Virginia. He will live with family and receive daily outpatient rehabilitation and therapy. Doctors feel it is reasonable for Donnie to live on his own, and return to work in some capacity, if all available Acute Rehabilitation options that are available to a person in his condition are exercised. It is Donnie’s hope to return to the water someday.
To that end we are raising funds to cover costs related to acute physical therapy, assisted living, medication, equipment, and home improvements to the family home needed to assist Donnie with his ADA needs. We estimate the cost of the expenses will be $250,000; until Medicaid and disability kick in. A special trust has been set up to ensure that all funds are managed and approved by a financial trust and designated trustee. All funds received will comply with the GoFundMe Guarantee; as they will be received and used by Donnie for his Acute Rehabilitation.
Donnie has touched the lives of so many people in so many ways. He has always been there for us, and it is now time to return the favor for such a great guy! Please donate now!
- Michael and Margaret Wagner
- Robert & Mary Petrucelli
- F Troop
- Madeleine & Brad Williams
Organizer and beneficiary
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