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Help Bryan Kidwell Walk Again

$113,222 of $150,000 goal

Raised by 928 people in 12 months
32456136_1535331689345139_r.jpegOn Sunday, August 19, 2018, my fiance Bryan Kidwell had a terrible accident at the beach. He dove into a wave and hit his head on a sandbar. Upon impact, his C5 and C6 vertebrae in his spinal cord were immediately shattered and fractured.

We were at the beach together and I saw him floating face down in the water. When I saw he wasn't moving, my adrenaline kicked in and I ran to pull him out of the water. We were instantly surrounded by local lifeguards and EMT. The next thing we knew, we were in an ambulance on the way to the hospital. Bryan could not feel or move his arms, legs, or torso.

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Bryan had emergency surgery on his spine that night and the doctor told us the probability of him walking again was very low. Bryan has been in the ICU for seven days and will remain there until his vitals are stable enough to transfer him out. The road ahead will be long and unpredictable, but Bryan is fighting every day. 

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Once he is able to leave the hospital, he will be in a rehabilitation center for what looks like 6+ months. Unfortunately, Bryan does not have health insurance. We know that post-injury expenses can be anywhere from $400K -$1Million in the first year alone. 

Cooking has been Bryan's life passion and he was in the process of opening his own restaurant in the next few months with his business partner and good friend Macks Collins. We are all hoping and praying that Bryan will be able to live out his dream, but we need your help to get him to his goal. 

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Despite the severity of his injury, Bryan has maintained a positive outlook and is determined to get back into the kitchen one day. 

We know that Bryan and I have a big support system and now we are asking for your help. At this point, it's impossible to say exactly how long the rehabilitation period will be or how we will need to modify our home and life so it's accessible to Bryan. We would both greatly appreciate anything you can give to help us out. 

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Many of you have offered to send flowers, food, and gifts and while we greatly appreciate the gesture, we are unable to keep these things at the ICU. We ask that you simply donate money to this fund in order to pay for Bryan's hospital expenses, rehabilitation costs and any future accommodations (wheelchair, ADA compliant home, and car, etc.) he may need over the next 6 months to a year in his recovery.
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We will continue to share Bryan's progress and any noteworthy updates through this page. We love Bryan very much and we are confident that with your help he will recover. Thank you for helping him continue to fulfill his dreams. <332456136_1535331969983231_r.jpeg
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Latest update from Bryan for those without Facebook :-)
Three months ago was the worst day of my life. I was doing my usual schtick at the beach running into the water doing flips over the waves. On one particular wave I hit a break too hard and it flipped me over half time too many. I hit my head on a sandbar...instantly paralyzing me from the neck down. A realization of pure panic since I was face down in the water drowning not being able to move anything but my head. I thought “this is it. This is how I go” I was shaking my head as much as I could since that’s all I could do for someone to notice. Thankfully I heard my fiancé Sofia’s voice. She turned me over as I was running out of air and pulled me out of the water to the shoreline with all her strength. I was speechless but talking through my eyes. I was in shock and fear for my future. My arms and legs were like noodles and Sofia kept asking “what’s wrong with your arms and legs?” As I replied “I am paralyzed. ” I remember the lifeguards being there in an instant. People hovering around me like vultures. On my way to UCLA in an ambulance, the EMT were asking me a million questions trying to figure out the severity of the injury. About half way to the hospital, they started touching my toes and I was able to feel them which was a huge sigh of relief. Then an incredibly painful burning sensation started coming down from my spine, to my arms, down to my fingertips which was bittersweet because although it was painful, I was feeling something in my arms.
I got to the hospital and it was like out of a movie. They rushed me into the ER, a million people asking me questions. They checked if I could feel pressure in my rectum which I could and therefore, a huge indicator for my future and recovery. This meant my injury was incomplete. Soon after, I was taken to get a cat scan and an MRI. I was then in incredible amount of pain in my arms. I’d describe the pain as someone stomping on your arms with needles as shoes. I was in the MRI machine for 25 minutes which were the longest 25 minutes of my life. I felt alone, claustrophobic and so scared for my life.
Doctors came back and told me I severed my spinal cord, shattering my C5 vertebrae and fracturing my C6. I needed surgery immediately so of course I gave them my consent. I remained positive most of time as I had my two closest people by my side... Sofia and Macks.
They prepped me for surgery. My surgeon Dr. Holly was on call that day and came in to cut me open and try to fix me. Next thing I know I am vomiting as they were intubating me. It felt like I slept for days but those were actually the toughest days for my loved ones. I woke up to my parents next to me. I can’t imagine the horror they felt as they saw their oldest child looking the way he did. I remember wires, tubes, IVs, boots on my feet, blood pressure cuff checking my BP every 5 minutes. My hands were tied to the hospital bed to keep me from pulling out the tube from my throat. The only way of communicating was with an ABC board. I dedicated songs to Sofia at night and made her play them when I couldn’t sleep at night because of the pain. They had me take pain medicine eight times stronger than morphine that made me hallucinate.
Friends and family that are very special to my heart started trickling in. At the same time from far away, best friends from home kept sending me songs, pictures, memes, text messages and calls with words of encouragement and positivity. To this day, I still think that all of that love and positive energy were a crucial part of my recovery.

I had daily visits of the fellow doctors and head doctor of the ICU checking on my progress. It was intimidating because each time they walked in, I tried my best to show them what I couldn’t do the day before. They were so kind and sensitive to how new this was to everyone. They helped us prepare for what was to come for this injury.
As the days passed, I was introduced to physical and occupational therapy teams. Things started to come back. My biceps and shoulders were strong. My left leg started to move.

After 10 days they transferred me to a spinal cord rehabilitation center Ranchos Los Amigos. I was terrified. I didn’t know what to expect. It ended up being a great experience. I started walking with assistance 5 weeks after the accident which is rare with someone with the level of my injury. I was able to start doing simple tasks like bathing and dressing myself. My nurses, therapist, and doctors treated me with such care and respect for what I was going through. I owe them all my life.
I went in barely being able to move and left using a wheelchair but walking with a walker. Since leaving rehab progress has been amazing. I’m walking all by myself about 100 yards a day. I’m still dealing with some things from the injury. For example, i have nerve damage in my hands. They feel like they have been dipped in ice water for ten minutes and that sensation is constant. I can’t feel temperature in most of my body and my legs feel ice cold constantly. My right hand is still dealing with tone which keeps my fingers from straightening. When I walk it looks like my hand is making a claw but it’s slowly going away. This injury is hard to comprehend for most people and it’s very hard to explain. The healing process takes time and I’m very fortunate that my healing has come back so fast. Unfortunately, it’s not the same for most people. I count my blessings everyday. Having your whole world turn upside down in an instant changes you. I see life differently.

I’m thankful for being alive, death was so near. I’m so thankful for all your love throughout this time. Your donations, gifts, cards and positive vibes made me feel stronger.

I’m thankful for my friends, my family, my two dogs, my best friend Macks, and most importantly, the love of my life Sofia. I wouldn’t be here without her. She’s the most selfless person I have ever met and I love her with all my heart.
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Bryan’s last WALK and day at rehab was two days ago! In this video, I am training his dad on how to support BK while he walks. He will still be using a wheelchair and we will practice walking every day to get him strong! Yesterday, he was able to walk for 6 full minutes! ☺️ BK will be wearing a custom-made brace for his right leg so that his knee isn’t able to buckle. We want to make sure he doesn’t get hurt while practicing His first assessment for outpatient therapy will hopefully be October 24th so in the meantime, all of us will become his physical therapists and work extra hard to keep the momentum going When Bryan arrived at rehab, his neurological injury level was C1 D. C1 is our highest cervical nerve and the higher the injury on the spinal cord, the more dysfunction can occur (A miracle right??). Even though his fracture was at the C5 level, he was classified as a C1 due to him not having sensation starting below his ear when he arrived. They did the test on him again and he moved from C1 to C6 D!! D means that more than 50 percent of the muscles that are spared below the level of injury are strong enough to move against gravity!! I am extremely proud of Bryan and so impressed with his strength (both physically and mentally) to keep his head up and fight hard for his recovery!! ❤️ thank you again for all your messages, DMs and prayers. It truly makes a difference when you know there’s an army of love...right there behind you ❤️
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5 weeks after 8/19

This week was challenging and inspiring at the same time. Remember how before it was so hard for him to stay standing up without feeling like passing out? This week, Bryan has been able to stand up with little help. His legs keep getting strong enough where he stands up and he only needs help balancing. It’s not perfect but we’ll get there! His right leg continues to be weaker than his left one but it is getting more movement and the strength of it, comes and goes.

Thursday was the best day! His physical therapists put some type of braces around his legs and a type of walking harness around his groin area. Their first goal for Bryan was to walk ten feet and then the second goal became 20 feet. Bryan decided to surpass their goals and went 200 feet!!! TWO HUNDRED FEET :-) When you watch the video, you can tell his right leg needs tons of assistance but check out that left leg go! Everyone is so impressed by his progress and I truly believe it has to do mainly with his attitude and drive but it also has to do with all your prayers and love!

On Friday, Bryan, his dad and his main PT and OT therapists went to our apartment for a home inspection. Unfortunately, even though we moved to the first floor, the hill outside in front of our building is too dangerous for his transfers from the car to the sidewalk. We practiced with me pushing him using a ramp to go inside the building and doing it three times was enough to get why it’s not a good option for him right now. You may be asking “why not a power chair?” A power chair is too wide and big and would not fit through the apt door.

Good news is his time in rehab was extended from 9/26 to 10/10 so who knows what will happen from now until then! His team of therapists explained that this is very rare and the extension was allowed due to his hard work and progress which means they feel confident they can set new attainable goals for him. I am sure this is really good for the therapists too so they can add to their team accomplishments.

Our neighbors and friends have continued to help us with the doggies so that I get to spend more time with Bryan at the hospital. They are truly angels! Today was such a good day! We listened to a book called “You are the Placebo” outside, he watched his football and golf, we ate yummy middle eastern food and exercised our technique as a team to get him to stand up multiple times. Thank you again for your continued support and love. We hope you have a wonderful week ahead! Stay tuned for more updates!
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Hello friends!

This week was full of new “discoveries” as his therapists call any new movement. Bryan can fully wiggle his left toes! He practiced a lot of standing up during physical therapy and went from 20 seconds to 1 minute and 45 by the end of the week!! It’s all about the body getting used to it again and his blood pressure stabilizing for him not to feel like he’s passing out. He does it with the help of two therapists and one of us helping him in the back. There are so many muscles that we use when standing up and it’s only when I see Bryan trying to wake those muscles up that I realize that. During his last “standing” exercise at the end of the week, he was able to push himself with his left leg to stand up using his strength by 50 percent. This one was completed with one therapist and a machine. I didn’t get to see too many exercises because I started working again but I was able to witness him doing an exercise where he was holding himself up, sitting up and remaining straight. It took so much out of him to stay straight but you could see the fight in him and it made me feel so proud! He took a couple of classes to understand more about spinal cord injuries and some health complications that may come with them. It is important that everyone close to him also understands these, to keep him healthy.

RIGHT LEG PROGRESS: Two days ago, Bryan flexed his right quad and he almost cried when it happened. I asked him why he was crying and he said “I’m relieved that it’s moving again.” The right leg has been very stubborn but it’s finally waking up! Any time he is sitting and his legs are dangling, he’s now able to lift his right leg. He hasn’t had to use an intermittent catheter the entire week which means his bladder function is coming back! Now he uses a condom catheter which allows him to pee into the condom (which then goes into a tube) instead of having a tube going down there! (You wanted to hear progress!! So every detail counts!! Hehe).

Today he told me “Imagine we are on a trip or something. This is just a bump in the road. It’s temporary.” So, there are some things that haven’t changed: his positive mind, his kind smile and strong determination to walk again!
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$113,222 of $150,000 goal

Raised by 928 people in 12 months
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