Help Anj & Patrick Make Music Again
My name is Anj, and I am a singer/songwriter/pianist based out of Atlantic City, NJ. Thank you so much for stopping by to to learn more about my miracle-of-a-boyfriend, Patrick. Two years ago, on November 8th, 2013, he was struck by a vehicle while walking home at night. He was diagnosed with a severe traumatic brain injury. He also had a subdural acute hematoma (brain bleed), a diffuse axonal injury (shearing of the brain stem), multiple contusions to the brain, a depressed basilar skull fracture, a shattered leg, a broken arm, and a post-traumatic stroke. He was in a coma for 10 days, and the doctor's told us that the prognosis was "extremely grim." They gave him a 1% chance of ever regaining full consciousness.
When he finally woke up, Patrick was greatly altered. The stroke had left him paralzyed on his left side. He could not speak, show facial expressions, control his bowels, follow a command, breathe on his own or feed himself. Every single basic activity that you and I take for granted, he has had to relearn this past year. Amazingly, he continues to improve and fight his way back to regain all that he has lost.
I met Patrick when I was 15 years old, in the band program at our local Catholic high school in NJ. Though we never had a conventional relationship, Patrick sparked something so catalytic in me that I began writing music. After college we lost touch, but never forget each other. And at 30 years old, our paths collided at the last gig of my first bi-coastal tour. We fell in love instantly and began dating again. We teamed up to produce my 3rd record, "The Giant Unquiet".
On the night of Patrick's accident, I was at a music convention in L.A, about to launch a national tour in support of my new record. I had this unshakable feeling that Patrick was hurt, which intensified as the hours passed, until I felt physically ill. Finally, when I hadn't heard from him, I called a family member who told me about the accident, and that patrick was "brain dead".
I flew on a red-eye flight to Florida, and arrived at his side just in time to hear the words "minimal brain activity". The swelling was so bad that the doctors had to remove a piece of Patrick's skull to let the brain swell out. I cancelled my tour plans, sold my RV, and have been with Patrick ever since his accident. It has not been any easy road, but I couldn't have made any other choice. Love made the decision for me.
Patrick has defied every prognosis from every doctor along the way, and is still continuing to shock them with his strength, fortitude, and determination. However, he has a long way to go on the road to recovery. He still suffers from left-sided weakness, drop foot, and lacks any fine motor function in his hand. He is unable walk unassited. He has swallowing/speaking troubles, and remains cognitively impaired. One of the greatest losses of the accident, is that Patrick can no longer play drums or effectivley write music.
I'm asking YOU to help me change that reality :)
There are many therapies out there that would greatly assist him in his recovery, but we do not have the funds nor means to obtain them. Many of these therapies are extremely expensive! We are launching this GoFundMe campaign to try and raise the money necessary to get Patrick access to all the therapy he requires, so that he can make the best recovery possible, and hopefully be restored to physical, emotional and mental health. We hope that people will feel moved to give, and assist in #healingpatrick, so that he and I can play the song of our hearts with our hands together once again.
You can follow our journey at www.16PetalsofBlueLight.com.
Grace and Peace,
First, I want to express my heartfelt gratitude for your contributions. The money you have blessed us with, has given Patrick the gift of walking. Every step he is now taking, is because of YOU.
We began 2016, with opportunities that we had never had access to before. Insurance-funded therapy ended, as we had feared it would, but that didn't mean that recovery had to end, too. BECAUSE OF YOU - we were able to pay for a personal trainer, who kept Patrick moving forward in his healing.
In February, we were blessed to return to Miami for a month of Brucker Biofeedback Therapy. This place is truly amazing, let me tell you! They help train muscles that appear lifeless or weak (to the naked eye), as a result of stroke or brain injury. Patrick received two hour-long sessions a day, and made amazing improvements in his motor-control and gait. His drop foot even came to life!
In just four weeks, we walked out of Brucker together WITH NO WALKER!!!!! HE IS WALKING UNASSISTED!!! PRAISE GOD!
Again, without your help, we could NEVER have afforded to go to Brucker. It is extremely expensive therapy (like crazy-woah), and a self-pay center. You guys made it happen. You gave us wings to fly.
Since we've been back home, we've hit the ground running, so that we might capitalize on Patrick's new-found mobility.
We have him in aquatic therapy, adaptive yoga, working out with a trainer, and in PT again. All of these things are being paid for with the money we have raised. He and I also practice together every day for an hour on his "gait-training" (walking practice). The two of us are extremely focused and determined!
It's very important to us, that you all understand how your contributions have impacted our lives. We want you to know that we haven't wasted a penny. Our days are fueled by the love and support that you have given us.
On an unfortunate note, Patrick has fallen 6 times since he started walking unassisted. This has been scary for us, and expresses better than I could, why we need to keep pushing and working on his balance, coordination, motor-planning and gait.
We are also hoping to improve the quality of his walking, so that he does not develop structural and muscular abnormalities over his life by walking incorrectly. He wants to one day he can run! He wants to work, to play drums again, and to do the things he used to without the constant reminder of his injury holding him back.
So if you would, please share our campaign with those who you feel might be so moved to still give.
Thank you again from the bottom of our hearts. We could not do this without you.
Anj and Patrick
(video below shows Patrick walking out of Brucker Biofeedback on his last day - unassisted for the first time ever!
FOURTEEN THOUSAND DOLLARS! Say what?! You people are amazing!!! You're awesome sauce with radical jelly. You da bomb. ( Can people still say da bomb? ) Well, you get the idea. You're a flock of guardian angles, surrounding us with the light of your generosity and support.
At first I didn't think we'd be able to raise 10K, and now we are almost at our 2nd goal of 15K. It's just.. unbelievable. It's also so healing to feel this kind of love and support encircling us, that my little heart is fluttering in it's rib cage with hope again.
So thank you.
There are amazing therapies out there that are of course, not available through insurance. Conventional therapy (OT, ST, PT ) serve a great purpose for TBI, but eventually they come to an end and for Patrick, that time is basically upon us. And the reality is, there are amazing, cutting edge therapies out there that SHOULD be available to all TBI patients but are not.
Take HBOT (hyperbaric oxygen therapy) for instance, which is insurance approved for many uses, but not yet TBI, despite extensive research showing how it can rebuild capillaries and neural pathways. HBOT costs anywhere from $10,000-20,000 for 40 sessions, which is what is required to see improvements. People who have access to HBOT see improvements in cognition as well as decreased spasticity and tone, behavioral improvements and an increase in awareness.
Brucker Biofeedback, which Patrick tried 18 months ago, uses feedback from a computer to awaken the mind/body connection for those suffering from both weakness and lack of awareness of one side of their body, due to stroke. It was the best therapy Patrick ever received, and he made tremendous progress during his month stay with them, but cost $6,000 for 30 sessions.
So the point being, therapy is very, very, costly. But with every dime we raise, and each new bracket of fundraising achieved, new alternatives become possible.
We want all of you to know where the money we've raised is going! To start, we've hired a personal trainer for Patrick to help him build muscle again and flexibility. We also purchased an adjustable, raised exercise mat that he can use now to practice his sit-to-stands! (He was unable to do so from a bed or couch as they sit too low).
On our FIRST day using the mat - Patrick achieves another milestone! A milestone that would've have been possible without you help! YOU ARE WORKING MIRACLES IN OUR LIVES- DO YOU HEAR ME? Miracles.
So thank you from the bottom of our hearts. Thank you with everything we've got.
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
Patrick and Anj
We are getting every closer to our goal of $10,000... and would love nothing more than to reach that number by tomorrow evening. Please, if you haven't made a donation yet.. make one now.
Lastly, on the eve of the day that changed everything forever, I am sharing with you a video montage I created of where we started... our first Christmas together after his TBI. I wept with ambiguous emotions watching these clips, thinking to myself... God... far we have come.. and yet, how far we have to go. <3
Thank you so much for all the donations, you lovely lovely people!
Just so you know all Marans of America Club new memberships are all being donated for the month of December. Just started today and we are already up to 96.00 coming your way. Prayers are included!
Thought you'd like to know I'm also a songwriter. Here is my SoundCloud page: https://soundcloud.com/daviddowning-2