Julia Carey’s Recovery Fund

My 19 year old niece, Julia Carey, was a passenger on a motorcycle that was struck by a car. Julia was thrown from the motorcycle into a road sign and suffered a brain injury and severe spinal cord injury. Her helmet saved her life but Julia’s spinal cord injury has left her a paraplegic, paralyzed from the waist down. Julia’s care will be lifelong and expensive. Her needs are far greater than our family can afford. The accident occurred in Thailand and we hope to raise enough money to have Julia flown to the United States for treatment and care. Julia’s father, my brother Pat Carey, is a retired Marine Corps veteran of 22 years and he is trying to give his daughter her best chance of recovery in the US. Please help my young, beautiful niece have the very best possible care for recovering the use of her legs. Praise be to God Almighty!

From Julia's father Pat Carey:
My wonderful sister Cathy launched this campaign for my daughter Julia Carey in order to ensure we met all of GoFundMe's requirements and wouldn't risk having it shut down. I currently would not have had a valid stateside phone number to be contacted at due to being with my family in Thailand. Your younger brother Pat Carey and my daughter Julia are so grateful sister Cathy.

We are quickly coming up on several crucial financial deadlines and need your help. We must pay the two months past due on Julia's hospital bill at the rehabilitation center by 1 May or Julia runs the risk of losing her bed. The center has already granted us an extension and we have been unable to come up with the funds. We are worried it would be devastating to Julia if she had to stop rehabilitation at this time because she has just overcome the deep depression of realizing the extent of her injuries and is really fighting hard now to recover. Help Julia keep her spirits up and continue her fight. Give Julia a chance to walk again.

Our Beautiful Julia Carey
On January 15th, 2019, the unthinkable phone call that no parent wants to receive, was answered by my wife. Our 19 year old daughter Julia was a passenger on a motorcycle and was hit by a car. The impact launched Julia approximately 60 feet through the air and she impacted a large steel sign held up by two concrete poles with such force that it broke one of the poles and completely shattered her full face helmet. Julia suffered severe trauma to her head and her back was broken, a total of nine vertebrae, three of which were crushed and her spinal cord was injured. The hospital needed us to get there immediately because they did not know if our daughter would survive or not.

Julia With The Respirator To Help Her Breathe
Praying For Miracles And Hoping That Julia Will Survive

The doctors told us that Julia had severe bruising, swelling, and bleeding on her brain. She was unconscious and the doctors prepared us for the worst, it was possible Julia would not wake up. We immediately put out the call for prayers to my wife’s family and friends and to my family, friends, military friends/community, churches, and prayer groups. The number of people praying for Julia to wake up was quickly into the thousands and unbelievably, Julia woke up after just a little over four hours. Miraculous and even the doctors were stunned.
The hospital in the province where Julia had the accident is in a remote part of northern Thailand and serves as the main trauma hospital for many of the surrounding provinces. The queue of patients needing emergency surgery was so long that Julia had to wait 52 hours until she received her surgery. She wasn’t properly sedated, not put in a brace, and was tied to her bed. She was delirious from the brain injury and in so much pain she kept trying to move to get in a position where the pain wasn’t as bad. I am sure this probably caused even more damage to her spinal cord. The surgery took four and half hours, they had to insert two bars approximately 14 inches long, held in place with 16 screws. The surgeons had to use a good vertebrae at each end of the broken vertebrae in order to get enough strength in the repair, so there is a total of 11 vertebrae involved in the break and repair.

After Julia's surgery, her brain continued to bleed and swell and the large surgical wound was bleeding so much they had to give Julia several units of blood. After the doctor gave us an update and said they were prepared to open Julia's skull if the swelling and bleeding didn't stop, he knew we had many people praying and stated that if we truly believe it will help, that we needed to have everyone ask that the swelling stop and that all the bleeding stop. We put out the update and once again had hundreds, possibly thousands praying that Julia's brain stop swelling and bleeding and that the surgical wound stop bleeding. By the next morning when they did the scan of Julia's brain, the swelling had stopped and the bleeding in her head at least seemed to be decreasing. Later that morning the bleeding in Julias's surgical wound had decreased so much that the blood stopped coming out of the upper drain tube and they removed it. By evening time, blood stopped coming out of the lower drain tube and it was removed. Once again the doctors were somewhat stunned at how quickly Julia improved. Julia's speech was also improving so the doctors believed that the danger from pressure in her skull had passed and they would wait a few days before doing another scan because they had taken so many. Three days later they did a new scan and were amazed. Apparently when the swelling of the brain had stopped, so had the bleeding. We had received our miracles again. The doctors started to believe Julia was going to make it. Thank you Almighty Father for leaving our baby girl here with us.

Julia's Surgical Scar
Julia's Prognosis

The surgeon ran tests that involve your sphincter to make a determination of whether it is a complete spinal cord injury (SCI) or incomplete. Due to the severe crushing of about three inches of the cord where the vertebrae were crushed, multiple lacerations and punctures of the cord from the sharp breaks along the nine broken vertebrae, and because Julia’s sphincter just laid limp when being probed, her injury was ruled complete. Both the surgeon and the brain/spinal cord specialist came to the prognosis Julia would not walk again, she is a paraplegic. The injuries were high enough in her thoracic vertebrae region that her bladder and colon are not functioning properly. Julia needs constant care. She has to have a tube inserted into her bladder every four hours to evacuate the urine.  She also needs assistance to complete her bowel movements. Julia also has to eat special food supplements to keep her from wasting due to the large intestine not functioning properly. 

During the first month Julia was not able to control her emotions, focus on any subject for very long, went into rants unexpectedly, and there was about an eight or nine year period of her memory gone. It seemed she had no memories from about age seven to about age 16. The brain specialist said that it may take as long as a year and a half for Julia's brain to heal and for her body to completely remove all the blood from her head. The doctor stated that at this point it is hard to tell how much of her brain damage will be permanent. However, Julia's brain does continue to improve. Her emotions started to stabilize after the first month and the sudden ranting has ceased. Bits and pieces of the lost memory are returning and we are staying positive and hopeful that Julia's brain might make a full recovery. The doctor stated we have to stay patient as it will be a long road to full healing and then we will know how much of the injury will be permanent. We have faith our Julia is going to heal.

Julia moves to the national rehabilitation center
After five weeks in the original hospital and what was their version of an ICU, Julia was stable enough and her surgical wound had healed sufficiently that the doctors gave the approval to move Julia to Thailand's national rehabilitation hospital for those who have suffered severe injuries or illness that has left them disabled. The hospital doesn't have many beds and sometimes it is a long wait to get in. We were able to get Julia officially declared 100% disabled, which allowed her into the national rehabilitation center. Fortunately a vacancy opened up and we moved Julia on 22 February.

Wanting To Give Up And Die, Then Unbelievable Miraculous Breakthrough Saves Julia

At the rehabilitation center, the psychiatrist believes it is best to give the patient the probable worst case scenario and the possible best case scenario right up front. If the patient has a hard time mentally and emotionally dealing with their situation, they feel it is best to deal with it where there are professionals to help. Unfortunately, Julia took it very hard that she would never walk again, never have any feeling again below her waste, that her bladder and colon probably would never function properly again, and that she may end up with permanent brain damage. During the first few weeks, Julia was giving up, would not do all the exercises, and kept saying she wanted to die because she couldn't live like this. We sent out an update to our families and friends and asked for everyone to pray for Julia. Again hundreds were praying for Julia that evening. The following day during the morning massage of her legs, Julia exclaimed that she could feel when they grabbed an area of her right thigh. Then she said that when they massaged the bottom of her left foot it caused a pain in her left hip. They confirmed over the next several days that it was true. This made Julia's attitude change completely. Julia no longer wanted to die. Julia now proclaims she will walk again some day and that she is going to fight. Now Julia is doing more reps of all her exercises than she is directed to do by her therapists. This miracle of gaining some feeling below her waist has given Julia the will to live and is making her fight to get better. Praise God. If Julia had not improved, the doctors were already discussing ending her rehabilitation after two months. Now, as long as Julia continues to fight and continues to make progress, the doctors intend to give her at least a year of intense therapy.

The psychiatrists believe it is very important to keep Julia's will to live and fighting spirit going. For a teenager it is important to give them back as much freedom of movement as quickly as possible and to help them be able to care for themselves as much as possible. Julia's steel bars make most of her back rigid so that she can sit up on her own. Unfortunately, the lack of flexibility and lack of upper body strength makes it impossible for Julia to operate a normal wheelchair on an up hill slope. She can only use one on flat surfaces. The doctors have recommended getting an electric chair, but they are expensive here in Thailand due to the import taxes. The doctors also recommended an electric adjustable bed so that she won't have to call for help all the time to reposition her bed. Julia will be able to put her bed at the right height on her own to slide onto her wheelchair. We need to make modifications to our house to make Julia more self sufficient and accommodate her constant care giver. We plan to take the large ground level room and make it into two bedrooms divided by Julia's paraplegic friendly bathroom, one bedroom to keep her care provider close by. The bathroom has to be large enough to accommodate her wheelchair and will have hand rails with several rings hung from the ceiling so Julia can move from chair, to potty seat/commode, to a bathing seat. We have so many outstanding bills and upcoming expenses that we need help desperately.

Our Financial Dilemma

The man that hit Julia is a lawyer and knew exactly what to do in Thailand to avoid his financial responsibility. He would only let us use his insurance if we released him from any further claims. By filing in court that he felt he wasn't responsible, he not only avoids paying for anything but he is also able to withhold the use of his insurance until the court decides fault. It is going to be about a year before it even goes to court. My military retiree insurance coverage requires all payment be made in cash upfront when residing in Thailand, put in claims, prove you had the cash to pay for it, and then wait to see what they will pay for. This also can be a timely process and you never receive the total amount. Even though our GoFundMe campaign may not cover all the expenses, we hope to be able to get enough back from insurance claims throughout this year that it will make up the difference. Our family and friends have graciously pitched in as much as they could and have gotten us this far, otherwise Julia wouldn't have been able to enter the rehabilitation center or stay for five weeks in the first hospital to recover enough to ensure she was well enough to move without risk. We have diverted all of  our funds to the expenses we have incurred, to the point that we are now at risk of defaulting on our mortgage and car. We particularly need to save the house as we may need to sell it to help with Julia's future surgeries and treatment. As a retiree from the United States Marine Corps, I only have an annual income of $24,000. We were already financially strapped because my wife's father had been fighting colon cancer for seven years and was stage four during 2017 and finally passed away on 13 November 2018. We had to help pay for his pain meds, diapers, and other necessities and had sold much of what we owned before tragedy struck my family.

The expenses we are facing are as follows:

Many of the following are close approximations of expenses and may be higher or lower. Whenever possible, I will be trying to pay the least amount. We will be getting quotes for the med flight back to the US from more companies and hopefully can get the cost down some. Every regular airline we have contacted will not let Julia fly on them because she will need medical care every four hours. Julia would have to sit in the business class flat bed seats and they won't allow us to undress Julia to drain her bladder. If there would happen to be any money left over from the fundraiser, Julia has requested that it be used to buy electric wheelchairs for some of the paraplegic and quadriplegic patients at the rehab center who truly need one but can’t afford them.
Rehab for another 10 months x $2500 = $25000
Monthly food supplements and meds = 10 months x  $500 = $5000
Electric adjustable bed = $2000
Electric wheelchair = $3000
Van with lift =  $20,000
Outstanding hospital bills = $15,000
House modifications = $12,000
Med flight for Julia to the US – current lowest quote = $83,000
Transportation for the rest of the family to the US = $6000
To bring the mortgage current to avoid foreclosure = $2100
To keep our car from being repossessed = $900

Total = $174,000
Future surgeries and treatment will easily run into several hundred thousands of dollars, but we will run another GoFundMe and fundraisers when that time approaches, if we can raise enough to get Julia back to the United States.

We need everyone's support to make this a successful fundraiser. Even the small donations of $5 or $10 add up quickly and are very much appreciated. If you can not give or do not want to give, you can still help tremendously by sharing our campaign with family, friends, social media networks, groups, organizations, anywhere that it will get out to multiple recipients. Julia and our family thank everyone for helping us.

#JuliaCareysRecoveryFund #CompleteSpinalCordInjury #TraumaticBrainInjury


Donations ()

  • Kurt Frenter 
    • $15 
    • 2 mos
  • Ashley Matula 
    • $25 
    • 6 mos
  • Marcus Brady 
    • $20 
    • 8 mos
  • Joseph Hoppen 
    • $25 
    • 8 mos
  • Jen Selimos (Barile) 
    • $100 
    • 8 mos
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Cathy Carey Wright 
Saint Clair, MO
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