My baby brother, Parker Hicks is one of the strongest individuals I know. During his senior year of high school, Parker struggled through some of the hardest problems teenagers are encountering in today’s society and because of these struggles, he recognized going straight to college was not the best option following graduation. Without any idea of what direction he wanted to take, he chose to travel around the world. My family supported his decision to live abroad, but could not and would not financially fund his trip. Parker dedicated his senior year to becoming mentally healthy and saving every last penny to take a gap year and travel the world on his own. Parker’s finances throughout his trip are entirely his own responsibility and he has overcome several bumps in the road and that makes me so proud. Parker has been traveling since last May, first beginning his journey in South America and eventually landing in Australia. As an 18 year old, Parker has worked his way through countries making enough money to survive.
During a swim on the beach with friends, Parker was accidentally kicked in the eye while in the ocean. The kick split his eye open a little under the lid. He was hospitalized within 6 hours with a 105 plus temperature and horrid pain. At first, the doctors were unsure what they were truly dealing with. He was immediately started on four different IV antibiotics. His medical team consists of infectious disease doctors, an ocular specialist, and hospital doctors. At this time, they were able to collect enough pus to culture all bacterias in the ocean and different strains of staph.
One of the cultures came back as Group A Streptococcus (commonly and frighteningly) called Necrotizing Fasciitis or flesh-eating bacteria. Parker was taken into surgery that day to cut out a lot of necrotized tissue and infection leaving a large hole in his face. The infectious disease team changed antibiotics and dosages to kill this awful bacteria. Next, they gave it a couple of days to let the antibiotics aggressively treat it. Parker then went in for a second surgery to remove any remaining infection and tissue and keep the large hole from splitting further open. To do this, they sewed the remaining skin through his upper eyelid and eyebrow and back through to keep it in place. The goal is to discharge in the next 48 hours to outpatient care. He will be on antibiotics 6 times a day and ointment for a month and then go in for reconstructive plastic surgery. He was told that they will implant a metal plate permanently to fill the hole and sew his skin over it. Parker has a month to recuperate to prepare for his third surgery.
Although I feel a little weird creating a GoFundMe, I am starting this campaign for a couple of reasons. Due to this accident, my brother has lost his restaurant job in Gold Coast, Queensland. Parker will not be able to work for the next six weeks and he does not have a job to go back to. Bad timing and life lessons happen, and unfortunately Parker let his travel insurance lapse a week before this occurred and as a result, he is responsible for his entire hospital stay, including the emergency room, hospital stay, outpatient, and surgery all on his own. Parker overcame so much in high school and has worked so hard to make this adventure work that my heart truly aches for him. Parker understands he is responsible for these bills, and I know Parker will not skip the country and leave the taxpayer’s of Queensland to foot the bill. We were raised the right way and I know as soon as he is able, Parker will return to work and pay his bills. Although his medical bills are estimating around $60-100,000, I am looking to help him out a little bit. As his sister, I want to be able to help him in anyway I can. Any donation helps and will be directly paid to Gold Coast University Hospital, and we are incredibly grateful for your support.
- Blaire Balstad
- Kat Hrstic
- Christina Tinsley
- Annie Leuthold
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