“Is he dead?” one of the neighbors asked a police officer, from an apartment building lobby next to the crime scene.
“It ain’t looking good for him,” the sergeant responded. (Chicago Tribune)
After two terrible days for family and friends, in which Jermell suffered a stroke and was induced into a coma, his care at University of Chicago Hospital brought him back to life. However, a long road to recovery and a mountain of expenses await the 25 year old. He will remain in the hospital until he can swallow food; doctors are expecting a year of physical therapy to regain the ability to walk and speech therapy to relearn how to speak in complete sentences.
Jermell, a loving father of a 5-year old son, is a lifelong bicycle rider and mechanic. His passion began at Blackstone Bicycle Works in a youth program that gave him access to bikes, tools, parts, mentors, and peers that would eventually guide him to his current position as a professional mechanic for Chicago’s city bike program, Divvy.
Through a love of bikes, Jermell and his peers formed a community that extended beyond the blocks they grew up on, beyond the sets and gangs that dominate our neighborhoods. This community extends across the country, from Chicago to Gallup, New Mexico, where Jermell helped to build a bicycle co-op. This attack, the struggles of recovery, and the precarious financial situation that Jermell finds himself in should motivate all of us to step up and give a helping hand because this community is strong and won’t let violence pull down one of our own.
Jermell’s current expenses include rent, car payments, hospital bills and rehab/therapy costs. At this time, it’s very difficult to estimate exactly how much assistance Jermell will need but it’s clear that any amount will help. Please, give what you can! Donations will be directed to Jermell’s mother, Tracy Oliver, to manage until Jermell is back on his feet.
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