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Hearts with River Fundraiser

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River’s story

On November 26, 2017, my son River drowned. His mother left him alone in the bathtub. River was only 14 months old. He was rushed to the hospital and the doctors were able to successfully reanimate him and get a heartbeat. River suffered an anoxic brain injury and the doctors painted a very dark picture, saying that he would never open his eyes again and asked me to let him go. I refused. River and I have an incredible spiritual connection, and I knew it was only the beginning of our adventure.

I stayed in the hospital with River for months, focusing on his healing. I brought my piano and guitar to the hospital and played music for him every day. I talked to him, I massaged him and stimulated his body while telling him about all the cool things we were going to do together. I wrote songs by his side and felt that even though he was motionless and unresponsive, we were connected and we communicated, sometimes with subtle inflections in his breathing. After about two months River began to move his big toe and opened his eyes slightly.

I was so happy and continued stimulating him and surrounding him with love. In my time at the hospital with him I researched day and night on brain injuries, healing, and recovery. I talked to other parents of children who had gone through near drownings and spoke to many specialists on the subject. I was happy I could finally come home with River so that I could get him started on therapies that would help him heal and that were unavailable at the hospital. I learned all the special cares, how to use the ventilator, the oxygen machine, how to give River breathing treatments, take care of his trach and g-tube and how to save his life in case of an emergency.

Although these were the most physically demanding moments of my life as I was sleeping around 2 to 3 hours per night, I felt some energy carry me in my adventure with River. I was so happy River could be in his familiar environment with the sounds and smells of home, all of his toys and surroundings. We sat together at the piano, I cooked and blended food for him so he wouldn’t have to eat the medical g-tube formulas. We did therapies together: chiropractic, physical therapy, hyperbaric oxygen, cold laser therapy, and more. Most of all I focused on making his days the most joyous possible.

River is now 6 years old; he opens his eyes fully when awake, he gets excited when we jump on the trampoline, or when I help him walk around the house. The recovery journey is just beginning and we are discovering more every day. I can tell River is excited about life by the sounds he makes, the way he moves his eyes and looks at me, and by the silent communication we share. He pushed me towards my own self-realization and he accelerated my own personal evolution.

You can see more of his story at and on the heartswithriver page on Facebook and Instagram.

River and I live in California and I am currently working on a movie about River’s life that is going to be called River the Phoenix and also on some songs that will accompany the movie.

I am hopeful that the therapies we are fundraising for will help River do more of the things little boys want to do. We plan on using the funds we raise for some more expensive therapies like stem cells, hyperbaric oxygen and high-tech therapy centers like the Carrick Institute, all of which seem to have helped other children who drowned.

I would like to thank everyone who has given to River's fundraiser and the companies and practitioners who have sponsored River with some products or services that could help him, like the Senergy Wellness Group, Dr John Bergman and many more.

All of your prayers, songs, positive thoughts and financial support are tremendously appreciated. Thank you for helping to bring River back to life <3 

James Monroe
River's dad

"Run to the rescue with love and peace will follow" - River Phoenix


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James Monroe
Seal Beach, CA

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