On August 18th, 2013, my brother was involved in a one car accident. He was on his way to work early on a Sunday morning. A deer popped out onto the Garden State Parkway right off the entrance ramp near our house. His best recollecetion of that moment is that he avoided contact with the deer, but lost control of his car. He spun out into the median where he hit some trees, bounced off of them and then continued to spin into the guard rail.
My brother was cut out of his car and air lifted to Hackensack hospital. Doctors performed emergency surgery on his spine. He fractured vertebrae T8 through T10. They fused his spine from T7 to T12.
On top of his spinal injuries, he suffered severe chest trauma, broke every rib and was on life support. The damage was bad enough that the doctors had to put him in a medically induced coma, which lasted a little over 5 weeks.
Through that time, there were points in which the nurses and doctors honestly didn't know if he would turn the corner towards progress. He couldn't breathe on his own for about 5 weeks. He was switched to a fast paced occilator in week 2, and things looked real grim at that point. The damage to his chest and lungs were THAT severe. The spinal injury and the fact that he was going to be paralyzed from the waist down was starting to become almost secondary.
A lot of people might have given up. Chris fought his way back to health. It's almost as if he subconciously decided that he wanted to live. And some how during week 5 he began to make a recovery. After 5 in a half weeks of an induced coma, doctors were able to wake my brother up. While his ribs, chest and lungs had healed, the long term prognosis is that my brother would be paralyzed from the waist down for the rest of his life.
It's been a long hard road toward recovery. Our parents have long passed, so it's literally just Chris and I doing this thing together with the support of our extended family and friends.
We are 4 years removed from his accident. These were hard times. Lots of frustration and tears, but also a lot of learning and hard work. Chris has had to learn how to live in a wheelchair. We've both had to do a couple of things that are a little uncomfortable for each other as he was learning to care for himself. Chris has worked incredibly hard, both in physical therapy but also in the gym.
This past year has been filled with major successes. My brother continues to defy all the odds and is not only able to stand, but he is taking steps with the help of a walker. My brother is now working part time at a car dealership. He is also living on his own in an independent living center.
After all this we are finally looking for a little help.
My brother is looking to regain full control of his life. He is currently going through a course so he can get his driver's license again. The end goal here is to help Chris with the expense of buying a car with hand controls. This way, he can not only work full time if he wishes, but also regain his independence.
My brother is on a fixed income from social security. They also put a limit to how much he can earn every month or they will take away all his benefits. This is why we are reaching out to all of our friends and family. Please help my brother on his mission to get back on the road and complete this amazing recovery story.
Please donate if you can and please share this with everyone on your social networks.
Thanks for taking the time to read this and for contributing.
- Carolyn Kelly
- Ersy Dininno
- MARIO FERNANDES
- Irene Stemper
Organizer and beneficiary
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