JOHN IS BACK IN THE USA! -- see updates
On Sunday, December 10th, 2017, my youngest brother John Ryan Kent suffered a devastating accident in Beijing, China. While riding his motorbike on a dark highway, he was blinded by oncoming lights and hit the end of a concrete Jersey barrier head-on. He was thrown and knocked unconscious. Besides a head laceration, he suffered serious spinal cord injuries to his upper C3-C7 vertebrae, leaving him paralyzed from the neck down.
John spent one month confined to the ICU of Peking University Third Hospital, Beijing. His heart stopped during surgery and we feared he would not pull through, but he did. This photograph was taken by a friend of his in China about mid-January, when he had a trachea tube and was unable to speak.
John's accident has been heartbreaking for his family and friends. After a long and difficult life searching for an occupation that would give his life meaning, he found his calling as a teacher. After teaching English as a second language in South Korea, he finally landed a much more rewarding job, teaching biology to middle school students at a private school in Beijing. He found real joy and satisfaction as a teacher, and by all accounts he was respected by his students and peers. He was on the verge of creating a STEM program, when this accident happened.
Whether John will ever teach again -- let alone walk, or be able to write, or hug another person, or experience so many of life's little pleasures that so many of us take for granted, is now up to us. The focus of this campaign is to get John home to the USA, and admitted to a good rehabilitation hospital. John's recovery will not be easy, and it will take a long time.
Since we began this campaign, so many friends and family have opened their hearts and generously donated to John's fund. Not only will this money help John repay his debts, but it will assist him with expenses not covered by Health insurance or SSDI (assuming he qualifies for that).
Here is a rough estimate of expenses we are trying to raise right now (NOTE: This has been updated as April 4, 2018 -- we are seeking to raise about half the money we orginally planned on, as we have learned more about costs)
Air Ambulance Transport, Beijing to US: $60,000
Hospital, Physician, PT costs in the US: $50,000
Aside from the Air Ambulance, for which we have received quotes, the other expenses are estimates based on the advice of others. We have applied for VA benefits for John (John served in the U.S. Navy from 1984 - 1987) and other health insurance for him, including Medicaid and MassHealth.
Our biggest concern is that in order for John to have the best chance of recovery, he may well be requiring services and support beyond what insurance will pay for. This is why this fund is so important.
Because I am acting as John's Designated Health Agent, I am planning on flying him home to a hospital in Massachusetts. There are some very good hospitals in Boston, such as Mass General, Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, and the VA Spinal Cord Injury Hospital.
The clock is ticking. John has exhausted all of his savings -- all of his salary earned in China has been applied toward his hospital bills. He will not be able to return to teaching for quite some time, perhaps years. Meanwhile, his debts and hospital bills in Beijing continue to mount. And his Chinese work visa will soon expire.
Far from home, cut off from family and friends and a teaching job he loved, John is feeling understandably lonely, isolated, and depressed. We don't want him to give up. He wants to -- and needs to -- come home now.
John in the U.S. Navy, 1984
Lastly, I would just like to say, thank you. If you are reading this, then thank you for reading this. If you can give anything, remember every dollar counts. No donation is too small. These are difficult times for many people. So if you just hold John and his family in the Light, or say a prayer, or think about him -- that's okay too.
I will post updates as this campaign proceeds.
- rodger coombs
- Matt Lincoln
- Phil Cormier
- New Bern Elks #764
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