A moment can change your whole life... One second, you're having a great day on the water, soaking up the sun, making great memories. The next you find a beach to swim from and take a dive that turns your entire world upside down. Jesse Raymond dove from the beach into the water, not seeing a hidden rock beneath the water. Hitting head first, it crushed his vertebrae, scalped him, and knocked him out. The current of the river taking him, his friend Eric jumped in and swam both of them ashore. He administered CPR and Jesse came back to us. Life Flight was called via satellite phone from a flagged down passing boat captain. After surviving hours of multiple emergency surgeries, fusing his C1 to C6 vertebrae, not having the ability to move from his hands down, much less breathe – Jesse was in a fight for his actual life. He continues to fight for not only himself but his family. Jesse and family face a huge financial challenge, with the overwhelming amount of home modifications and equipment to create a comfortable living environment. If you'd like to get to know our family hero in more detail, please continue to at the bottom.
Jesse Raymond is a son, a brother, a cousin, a dad, an uncle, a fiancé, a Coeur d’Alene businessman, a big-shouldered rock – a fun-loving generous friend to all who know and love him.
On June 29th, Jesse took a much-deserved day off, spending the day jet skiing the Snake River with his friend Eric and Eric’s 14-year-old son. After their day on the water, before loading up for the evening, they paused on a beach. There, Jesse dove from the beach into the river. Sadly, Jesse also dove into a rock. This rock scalped Jesse, and crushed several of his vertebrae. When Jesse finally floated to the surface, he was face down, drifting downriver. Jesse’s friend Eric managed to catch and resuscitate Jesse. When Jesse eventually came to, he said he couldn’t feel his legs. So, with zero cell service where they were in the canyon, Eric had no choice; he had to run for help. Before he left, Eric instructed his son to keep Jesse awake and not to move him, no matter what Jesse said.
While Eric was away, Eric’s son flagged down a passing Snake River Adventure boat. Nate, the boat’s captain, had medical training and a satellite phone, which he used to call Life Flight. Together with a nurse who happened to be on board, they carefully pulled Jesse from the 60° water and tried to warm him in a sleeping bag, doing their best to keep Jesse alive until Life Flight found them an hour later. Two hours after the injury, Life Flight flew Jesse out of the canyon to the hospital.
Jesse was in emergency surgery ‘til 3:30 the next morning. When he woke, he and his loved ones heard the surgeon relate how he’d fused Jesse’s C4 and C5 vertebrae, and put his scalp back. The surgeon also said Jesse needed additional surgery. So Jesse was Life Flighted to Spokane, where vertebrae C1 through C6 were fused. At this point, Jesse had no movement in his hands or from his chest down. There, on a ventilator in ICU, Jesse fought for his life for eight harrowing days and nights.
Since then, Jesse’s been moved to St. Luke’s in Spokane, where he’s begun the long road of recovery, rehabilitation, and adjustment to life in a wheelchair. Somehow, Jesse’s spinal cord was not severed, so Jesse and everyone close to him hold out hope that he’ll somehow regain function. Meanwhile however, St. Luke’s is helping Jesse adjust to his new reality - paralysis. Jesse can’t use a phone yet, so his fiancée Morgan and his family are taking care of everything, feeding him, and running his business, Ace Moving.
Several years ago, Jesse started Ace Moving by himself. Working diligently to build this business, doing moves large and small, residential and commercial, struggling as a single dad to raise his young daughter. Typically only employing two to four people, Jesse just started taking a small salary, and just made his first payment on his own home. Then this accident happened.
Jesse has an amazing support system of family and friends, but we need to raise money to adapt Jesse’s home, things that are not covered by insurance. We need to help Jesse transition to his new wheelchair-reality. His brother-in-law Kirk will do the work to save money, but need many materials to begin. There is a lot of work to do in a short amount of time. Jesse’s home is two-story, with his bedroom, bath, and kitchen upstairs. We need to install a lift to get Jesse to the second floor. We’ll need to build ramps, expand the bathroom, and widen the doorways. In addition, he'll need need a powered wheelchair, a hospital bed, a lift to move him to and from his wheelchair, a wheelchair-friendly transport van, specialized rehab devices, outpatient therapy sessions – the list is long, and far from cheap....a lot which is not covered by insurance.
If you know Jesse, you know how generous he is – to everyone. You know he’d gladly lend you his vehicles for free, no questions asked. You know he’d give you the shirt off his back, literally and figuratively. Now it’s our time to be there for him, to return his generosity. It’s expensive to modify a two-story home, to adapt to Jesse’s challenging future. So we humbly ask for your help, in every way you can. Dollars, prayers, positive vibes, frequent shares via social media – anything and everything you can do is greatly appreciated, and truly valued. We’re calling our effort the Nothing Stops Jesse Drive, and the more people who know about it, and participate in it, the better. Every bit of help is welcomed. We thank you. Jesse thanks you. And know that as soon as we’re able, we’ll return the favor.
- Russell Varecha
- Idelsy Napier
- Dan and Jenny Oliver
- Gary/Mary Slater
Organizer and beneficiary
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