As many of you know, tragedy recently struck the Bell family due to a senseless act of violence. The Bells have been an amazing blessing in the lives of so many of us. We are organizing this fund to try and lighten the financial load for them during this incredibly difficult time.
On Monday, July 12th, fifteen-year-old Michael Jr. was vacationing in Santa Rosa, Florida with the family of a longtime childhood friend. That evening, Michael and his friend had gotten some ice cream and were leisurely riding bikes on the sidewalk when a person in a passing vehicle shot a high-powered BB gun out of his window directly at Michael's face. The BB struck Michael directly in the eye, causing devastating damage and significant blood loss. His friend and a good Samaritan who witnessed the incident acted quickly and heroically rendered aid to Michael until 911 arrived. He was emergency transported to Sacred Heart Hospital in Panama City....in indescribable pain...while his parents and family were 350 miles away at home.
After being stabilized in Panama City, the medical staff made the decision to fly him to the UF Health Shands Children's Hospital in Gainesville so that he could undergo the delicate and specialized surgery to remove the BB bullet and attempt to save his eye. However, due to the severe weather storms in the Panhandle that evening, air transport was not possible. As a result, he was taken five hours away via ambulance....with the BB still lodged in his eye...to Shands in Gainesville. Meanwhile, his loving parents drove thru the evening to meet the ambulance in Gainesville. God's timing would allow for them to pull into the hospital at the same time Michael's ambulance arrived....where they were able to see him for the first time.
Michael was able to undergo the very delicate eye surgery in the early morning of July 13th. The bullet was removed and the surgeons worked for hours to try and save his eye. It is unknown at this time as to what the prognosis will be or whether Michael will be able to regain vision. We do know that a series of entailed surgeries will be needed in the coming weeks in order to pursue that hope.
Obviously, the medical expenses associated with Michael's recent care combined with the required series of upcoming surgeries/procedures are going to be very expensive. This financial burden is on top of the extreme emotional toll being suffered by the family.
I have known the Bell family for close to 10 years. In that time, I have witnessed a continuous willingness to always serve and love others. They truly shine the light of Jesus in their daily lives. Their strong faith has served as a rock thru all of this. It is my hope that we can come together as a community to support their amazing and beautiful family in this time of need.
We are extremely grateful for any support you may be able to provide. We also ask that you please keep Michael and the family in your prayers.
"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose."
Organizer and beneficiary
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