As some of you may know, our beloved Stephen was midway through his second year of medical school at St. George’s University in the hope of becoming a neurologist. While he was on summer break, July 4, 2018, vacationing with friends on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, Stephen dove off a pier and hit his head on the sandy bottom. The impact shattered his C5 vertebrae and injured his spinal cord. He was rushed to the University of Maryland’s Shock Trauma Center and underwent surgery for his injury. The surgery involved procedures on two separate days that removed the shattered vertebra and fused part of his cervical spine. He subsequently underwent three additional surgeries and spent one month in the ICU. He will require more surgeries during his clinical course. Currently, Stephen retains complete mental capacity as well as the use of his shoulders and biceps but unfortunately, has not regained movement of his hands and lower extremities.
Stephen has a long road ahead of him. He was recently transferred to Magee Rehabilitation Hospital in Philadelphia where he will work with physical and occupational therapists for the next several months. He is finally off the ventilator and now has a tracheostomy. He will need cough assistance until he can strengthen his own coughing.
In addition to the five surgeries and one month in the ICU, upcoming expenses will be immense and ongoing. The expenses include outpatient rehabilitation that will extend over the next year, electronic wheelchair and other home assistive devices, vehicles that can accommodate his limitations and allow him to drive and ongoing daily nursing assistance.
With the support of his mother, father, brother, and girlfriend, Kate, he has remained the same upbeat, positive person we all know and love. He is determined to return to his initial ambition of completing medical school. He is a fighter. It is not easy to ask for help, but any contribution would be greatly appreciated and allow Stephen to focus on his recovery and care.
Whether or not you are able to make a donation, please consider sharing this fundraiser and story on social media to spread awareness. Stephen has been such a great friend to all of us. Please feel free to let him know you are thinking about him by writing a comment on this page. Also please follow his CaringBridge site: www.caringbridge.org/visit/stephenharrison.
“Don’t pray for an easy life. Pray for the strength to endure a difficult one.” – Bruce Lee
“Believe in a way Back”—Magee Rehabilitation Hospital
“Once you choose hope, anything is possible”—Christopher Reeves
Please keep Stephen in your thoughts and prayers.
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- Stephanie Purcell
Organizer and beneficiary
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