From Jim Gerlach, Grandfather to Gavin:
Patrice Gerlach and I would like to thank everyone for their thoughts and prayers during our time of tragedy. We are truly humbled by the support we've seen and it reminds us why living and growing up in a small community has been so important to us. I always thought losing a child is the worst thing that could happen and we thank God we've never experienced that, but losing a grandchild and having to watch your child suffer must be equally bad. I want to share Gavin's story and the miracles that happened along the way. In the midst of our grief, it is hard to be thankful, but we feel so blessed by some of the events and the miracles that occurred. Gavin, his sister Keira, Cale Van Gerla and Jessica Jessica Gerlach had taken a trip to the Indianapolis Zoo on Cale's vacation week. After eating, the kids went to the playground nearby and Gavin was accidentally knocked over by an older child and began crying. Jessica went to pick him up and upon reaching him, noticed he had quit breathing. She immediately did a finger sweep and began the youth dislodge technique. Upon realizing she couldn't dislodge the item, she called for help and almost instantly, a nurse began assisting and then a retired nurse joined in, both starting CPR after it was clear the item would not be dislodged. A good Samaritan then offered to watch Keira, who thank God never witnessed this horrible tragedy. A doctor soon joined as these three, off-duty medical professionals did everything they could to resuscitate Gavin. Soon, the EMT's arrived and took over. After almost an hour of CPR, the EMT's said they had one minute before they simply had to call it. Amazingly, Gavin had a pulse before the minute was up! Since the zoo was mere minutes from one of the best children's hospitals in the world, Gavin was taken to Riley Hospital for Children, where the care and caring was incredible. While Gavin bravely fought for his life, we received a text from my cousin Autumn Agugliaro, who is a nurse down in Indy, stating that a co-worker told her about her horrible day at the zoo the prior day and Autumn immediately knew it was her co-worker who had been the first responder. That nurse helped buy Gavin 53 hours of life, in which time, his parents, sister, grandparents and family/friends all got to say goodbye, hold him in our arms and pray together. In the final moments, Gavin's parents wanted privacy with him but Gavin simply kept fighting. With this unexpected extra time, the grandparents were invited back to see him one last time with no tubes or machines obstructing our ability to hold him or remember him. Within a minute of the grandparents Darrell P. Yoder Kris Yoder Lisa Yoder-Murdock Jason Murdock leaving, Gavin passed peacefully into God's mercy.
As we reflect on the ordeal, we realized the amount of miracles and blessings we had received. I know that sounds strange to say after this loss, but things could have been SO much worse! First and foremost, I am so grateful that the medical professionals were right there immediately. We have no doubts whatsoever that there was simply nothing more that could have done to avert this accident and I think that will be of great comfort to the family in the time to come. I'm also grateful that the family was together and had each other for support. Second, as we all prayed for a miracle and asked others to join us, it occurred to us that reviving a child whose heart did not beat on its own for an hour WAS OUR MIRACLE! It gave us time to cherish and love on him for a wonderful 53 hours. I will always believe that the 1 minute before the EMT's were going to quit giving CPR was God's divine providence in action. We are also grateful to the unknown good Samaritan who watched Keira and kept her distracted while this was going on. We feel so blessed to have been given the time to come together and heal, pray and cherish little Gavin, something many families are not afforded when children pass. While we will never know why God needed Gavin with Him, we take great comfort in the fact that God gave us those 53 hours. We are simply at a loss for words at the support we have received. One friend organized a 12 hour prayer vigil with 15 minute shifts, with every shift filled except a 4:15am shift we filled. My son-in-law's uncle, who is a priest in northern IL, said two Masses for Gavin. Gavin's church in Burlington organized a special service for Gavin, with my aunt/uncle/cousin immediately driving an hour each way to attend. A photographer friend of my son's came up and volunteered to take pictures of Gavin for them to remember him by. The staff at Riley PICU unit, which has a 4 person per visit policy, largely ignored it and allowed many family/friends to visit Gavin. Upon leaving, the girl at the information desk told me she had never seen so many visitors for a patient! It is during times like this where family and friends are so important and we are blessed to have so many wonderful ones!
Note: This is the official donation page approved by the family so share only this link, thank you for your support!
- Brandii Heck
- Connie Goodman
- ann raab satz
- Tom & Ginnie Luce
Organizer and beneficiary
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