Help Josh Speak With His Eyes!

$5,970 of $2,200 goal

Raised by 33 people in 42 months
8 years ago, at the age of 24, Josh Stillwell was found unconscious in his bedroom. He wasn’t breathing and had no pulse. Clinically, he was deceased.

He was miraculously brought back to life but the loss of oxygen to his brain left him with “Locked-in Syndrome”. He is cognitively intact but unable to move due to complete paralysis of nearly all voluntary muscles, except his eyes.  

Mentally, he is aware of the world around him, but cannot say a word...

Before, Josh was a star athlete who loved playing baseball, basketball and football.  Whether it was a game winning pass or providing a turkey to someone on Thanksgiving, he was always humble. He was a loyal friend, gentle and caring, someone you could count on to be there when you needed him.

Trapped within his own body, he now lives at home in Connecticut, and requires 24-hour care. He knows how fortunate he is to be alive and makes the most of what he has. His spirit will just not give up.  

The only way Josh can communicate is by blinking his eyes. The eye tracking technology he needs to use a computer and talk to his family costs over $15,000. Moreover, these devices have little to no flexibility for Josh to use them.

All his parents want is to hear him say that he loves them. In order to make this dream possible he needs a custom eye tracking device tailored to his abilities and needs. That’s why we need your help...

Your donation will pay for the personalized hardware and software required to open the doors for Josh to independently communicate with his eyes.

Please help us give this amazing soul his voice back!

This fundraiser is managed by Dan Bacher and Javed Gangjee of the SpeakYourMind Foundation on behalf of the Stillwell family. We create, distribute, and support assistive technologies for individuals who are unable to communicate due to neurological injury and disease. We strive for a world where everyone has the same opportunity to express themselves, regardless of their economic background or medical condition. For more information please visit:
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Check out this video of Josh with the custom video application we built, controlling it using only his eyes. Most of all, look at that smile! That's our biggest win.

Our hope was for him to be in control of a piece of his life and we've finally done it. He is now using his new computer every day to listen to his favorite music and watch videos. We couldn't have done it without your support and generosity. Thank you everyone. Go Josh!
Channel Surfing with Josh
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While work continues on the eye tracking front, an amazing SpeakYourMind volunteer has just begun work on a basketball game for Josh.
Speaking and spelling is a difficult task to do with only your eyes. We have to slowly increment the complexity of the tasks we ask Josh to perform. We think this game will be a fun way to introduce him to the technology while giving him a way to stay in touch with the sport he loves.
Can't wait to share this with you when it's all done! More soon.
Game Prototype
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Down to work!

Here is the first prototype of the screen we just built on a low cost eye tracker called the EyeTribe. This custom calibration test works perfectly in our lab environment!

We will now move to testing with Josh to see how his eyes react to this device and precisely pinpoint any issues he might have. If it fails, no worries! We've got a few more options.

The exceeded target has allowed us to expand the capabilities of the framework to cater to others in a similar situation as Josh. Thank you all for your continued support! We will have another update in a week! Fingers crossed.
Custom Calibration
Eye Tracker
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We have no words...

Thank you again! And then some more...

Your kindness will be pivotal in our cause to make sure being able to speak your mind becomes a right for everyone, instead of a priviledge for a select few. The Stillwell family's support will go a long way in this dream becoming a reality.

Development for Josh is well under way. We look forward to keeping you updated on his progress in the coming weeks.
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$5,970 of $2,200 goal

Raised by 33 people in 42 months
Created February 10, 2015
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Anna Stella
11 months ago

This story resonates so closely - wishing you the best of luck in obtaining this life changing device. God Bless!

Megan Devaney
34 months ago

We love you, Josh!

Alicia Gamelli
41 months ago (Monthly Donation)
Ivan Chorney
41 months ago (Offline Donation)
Judy Swidey
41 months ago (Offline Donation)
Aimee Millett
42 months ago

Love you josh!

Kim Peckham
42 months ago

What a great organization! Looking forward to all the happiness and smiles this will bring to you! xoxoxoxo

Ken Ruud
42 months ago

Good Luck!! God will provide.

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