First I must start by introducing myself. My name is Danielle Nelli and I am Jonathan Smerina's girlfriend. For those that do know us know how close we are and the love that we both have for one another is a special, unique, deep, and unconditional love. From the first day I met Jonathan I knew that he wasn't like all the others. As our relationship began to grow I learned about his situation at home. Jonathan's mom Dianne has been sick with early onset Dementia for almost 7 years. Reluctant to place her in a nursing facility, the decision was made to have her stay in the comfort of her own home. Since the beginning he has been there for her through all of her needs and progression of this horrible disease. When we met I instantly took to her. She became my mom also. We began to work together to take care of her. Being that she is bedbound and unable to verbalize her needs, it was essential for Jonathan and I to remain a team. It wasn't always easy, sacrifices had to be made, but we did it! The way I saw him care for his mother made me see right through to his heart. A heart so gentle, kind and self-less.
Everyday was faced with its new challenges, working two jobs and coming home to care for her. We fell into a routine leaving no room for anything else. One day he decided to learn how to fulfill his passion for motorcycles and finance one. I understand the stigma around them. However, he was responsible and as safe as he could be on the bike. He used it as a stress reliever and a way to clear his mind of all the things he has been faced with throughout life. As safe as he was little did we know that on June 19, 2017 our lives would change in an instant.
The Night of the Accident:
On June 19,2017 I received a phonecall that I wish no one will ever receive in their lifetime. On the other end I heard "Jonathan Smerina was in a motorocycle accident please come to Robert Wood Johnson hospital." My heart immediately sank. I sobbed driving to the hospital to see him, with a million thoughts going through my mind I had no idea what condition he was in or if he would still be alive by the time I got there. With his Aunt Salvina, Uncle Giuseppe, Sister Amber and Brother David, I arrived at RWJ. Walked into the trauma ER and saw him. I immediately fell to the floor . Just the sight of seeing the person that I love so much in so much pain, I couldn't bare to stand or stomach it. I then learned exactly what happened. He was driving on his motorcycle doing no more than 40mph on Texas Rd in New Jersey and slipped on water being produced from a shopping center's sprinkler system.
Extent of his Injuries:
While in the ER I was consoled by his family and the hospital's Chaplain. It was then I learned the extent of his injuries. He fractured his spine (cervical and lumbar) broke his pelvis, fractured his ribs, multiple internal lacerations, partially severed subclavian artery, bleed in the subdural portion of his brain and gallbladder and severe brachial plexus injury (when the nerves are pulled/stretched/detach from the spinal cord). In his case, causing paralysis to his dominant Right Arm below the elbow. All of these injuries involved multiple interventions and surgeries.
- Admitted to ICU
- Put on oxygen and placed chest tube to drain all of the fluid and blood from the lung,
-Pelvic surgery with hardware(plates and screws)
-Coil/clips to stop bleeding in artery to the gallbladder. Later resulting in gallbladder removal.
-Close monitoring for changes in
mental status due to subdural bleed.
-Spinal fusion was also performed (08/04/17)after neck/chest brace was unsuccessful in stabilizing his cervical fractures.
While it has been an uphill battle Jonathan has been the strongest person I have ever met. Thoughout these past few months he has been from ICU to a stepdown unit and later to Kessler Rehab. After being discharged he received outpatient rehab. Was on the road to recovering and then had spinal fusion with rods and screws to stabilize his displaced fractures. Most recently he has been to and from Hospital For Special Surgery to see what can be done to restore function in his right arm and hand. We have learned today that his surgery costs will not be covered by his insurance. This is why I am starting this fund for him. Throughout his life he has given endlessly to anyone in need especially his mom. I hope that by reading this you can get an idea of who Jonathan Smerina is what he has been through and the challenges he still has ahead of him. I pray to Jesus every night for healing comfort understanding protection and most of all strength. Strength for the both of us to face everyday. Although I do not have the physical injuries I literally feel everything he is going through both physically and emotionally. We will not give up and I will remain by him every step of the way. I will do my best but I am humbly asking everyone for help.
Jonathan and I thank each and every single person from the bottom of our hearts for taking the time out to read, share and donate. Please help us save his arm!
- Melinda and Len Eisner
- Jonathan Smerina
- Robert Ryan
- Joe & Missy Amejka
- Alex Millet
Organizer and beneficiary
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