Supporting Maximo's Recovery
$91,568 of $90,000 goal
On Wednesday September 23rd, five year old Max was riding his bike home from school when he was struck by a minivan. Although he was wearing his helmet, he sustained multiple injuries and was in critical condition. He went into surgery shortly after arriving at the hospital to remove his spleen. Once he was stable, he and his mom, Courtney, flew to Primary Children's Hospital in Salt Lake City, UT with dad, Joe, following shortly after.
Max remains in critical condition. He suffers from a collapsed left lung, bruised right lung, chest wound, broken ribs, broken pelvis, broken left leg and possible other broken bones. He is a strong little boy and fighting hard for his life.
Show your love and support by donating to help their family as they face extra living expenses and out-of-pocket medical costs.
Well, what an incredible year! Of course I will never be able to say thank you to each of you enough times. Friday, September 23rd was the one year anniversary of Maximo’s crash.
Summer vacation was “epic” according to a baseball cap Max had to have while we were back to school shopping. He finished Kindergarten in June, caught up with curriculum and his classmates. The very next day Joe and I put him on an airplane as an unaccompanied minor for the first time. He spent a week visiting grandparents and cousins before returning to Idaho for his sixth birthday.
The last two weeks of June we spent camping, 6 nights at Yellowstone NP, 6 nights in Glacier NP, and 3 nights in Northern Idaho visiting family for the 4th of July. It was an amazing camping trip full of wildlife and beautiful scenery and quality time relaxing together as a family.
In August, we returned to Salt Lake City for the first time since leaving last December. The University of Utah burn center puts on a summer camp for children burn survivors ages six to twelve. It was a four nights, five day camp filled with swimming, canoeing, archery, horseback riding, rock climbing, magicians, you name it, no parents allowed. Joe and I stayed close by and enjoyed four child-free days. Most importantly, Max had so much fun he wants to go again next year. The burn unit really does amazing work putting this camp on for children to be surrounded by other burn survivors who have to wear compression garments and whose skin has grafting scars just like them. There are therapists there to work with the children. Max learned a rehearsed response so if he ever feels on the spot in public when someone notices him and asks what happened. Three sentences; this is what happened, how he is doing, and closing it by thanking or asking the other person how they are doing. For the most part Max does not have a hard time talking about his crash as long as it is on his terms.
While we were in Salt Lake City we were able to catch up with a few of the physicians who treated Max while he was in the Pediatric ICU at the Children’s Hospital. Max spent sixteen days there before being transferred to the Burn Unit. He was on a ventilator that entire time, ECMO (Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation) bypass the first half, and heavily sedated. So the doctors and nurses who cared for him did not get to know Max other than through the pictures we posted all over the walls of his room and stories they patiently listened to us tell sometimes through our tears. I wish I could describe their faces and excitement when they saw and hugged Max this summer. It was a reflection of how truly special it is that he was able to overcome his injuries. They also told me that St. Alphonsus own Dr. Curnow, who performed Maximo’s surgery the night of the crash, stabilized his lungs, and flew with us in the middle of the night to Utah, stopped by the PICU for a visit last spring and was able to talk with the physicians who cared for Max and see the room Max was in. Just another testament to the passion all the doctors who care for children have for these little (BIG) lives they save. We are so lucky we had the right team of first responders, doctors and nurses in the right place and right time all along those early days to give Max the care he needed to survive.
I have an update on the other five year old boy who was hit riding his bike last April. He has been home since June. We know from experience that when you are in the hospital, your only goal is to get home, but the reality is the really hard work starts once you get home. He did sustain a traumatic brain injury (TBI). The boy had a lot of physical and occupational therapy this summer. A few weeks ago I received another text with a picture of their son on a bike. It brought tears to my eyes. His father said he started Kindergarten in August and it appears he is doing well. From what I understand about TBI, recovery can be a very long process though. Please keep this family in your thoughts and prayers that their son continues to recover. Support Children on Bikes
Last fall in the hospital we promised Max we would take him Disneyland if he worked really hard with the physical therapist, wore his splint at night, did his stretching, and wore his compression garments. Other than some tears with difficult and painful stretching while we were still in the hospital, he never complained about any of these things even when it was 100 degrees out this summer. We are going in October to the happiest place on earth! Dad, mom, Max and a lucky buddy who came to visit him in the hospital will be spending four nights and three days at Disneyland. We are so proud of him and blessed to call him our son.
There have been some amazing relationships formed this last year which I look forward to strenghtening as we move forward. Boise Bike Project went beyond being supportive last fall with Jimmy Hallyburton coordinating a public safety meeting, talking to the media on our behalf, and meeting with the governor to have two bike/ped questions added to the driver’s licence test state wide. Lisa Brady with Treasure Valley Safe Routes to School is another friendship I hope grows over time. She helped us find a powerful use for Maximo’s mangled bicycle. I know it is not an easy task, but she shows his bike at driver’s education classes and seminars for driver’s ed instructors. This summer I met Megan Brandel, the chair person for our Neighborhood Watch program. She lives near where the crash happened took it upon herself to start a traffic calming petition last fall for the street where Maximo was hit. It has been a daunting task working with Ada County Highway District on this petition, but I am hoping to be of assistance.
While most of this last year it seems like Joe and I have been struggling to maintain a very basic level of functioning, the future looks bright and I hope to be more involved in bicycle advocacy. On that note, for all Ada County residents who read this, three of the five elected seats on the ACHD commission are up for re-election. Go to their website ACHD find what district you live in, who the candidates are, who is bike/ped friendly, and not only vote for them, talk to your neighbors, friends, parents of other children in your neighborhood or school and urge everyone to BIKE THE VOTE! There will be a few public forums in the coming weeks where we can meet the candidates and hear about their platform. BBP will post those on their Facebook page so like them and help us spread the word by reposting this to your FB page.
• Maximo has caught up academically in his dual language immersion Kindergarten class. Mathematics and both English and Spanish reading he is at grade level. June 2nd he will graduate on to First grade for the fall.
• Today was his last day of counseling working through the trauma. His attitude regarding the crash is inspiring. Not once has he felt sorry for himself or asked “why me”?
• Physical therapy appointments have “streched out” (no pun intended) from once a week to every three weeks as of today. We still stretch at home twice a day.
• All the skin grafts on his legs have settled down nicely so he does not wear compression pants anymore. Which is wonderful now that the weather is getting warmer. He does have a few areas on his upper body where the graft scars are still thick so he is still wearing the compression shirt for a few more months.
• At the end of March he trialed out of the six hours sleeping in a splint with his left arm at 150 degrees. He has not lost any range of motion in that shoulder since not wearing the splint. Consequently, now that he is getting quality sleep at night, his daytime stamina has gone back to what it was pre-crash. We went through a time period where we normally put him to bed at 8:00 and he would be getting out of bed, talking to us, staying up until 9:00 before we figured out we needed to do more to tire him out during the day.
• We did have a setback in February. His second day up skiing, second run of the day, he crashed and fractured his left tibia, just below the original break from the bike crash. He was not in a lot of pain, there was no displacement, and he was in a cast for only three weeks. The orthopedic said he could walk in the cast “as tolerated”. Well, he was running in the cast after only a week.
I have been back to work since the start of February but only 33 hrs/week. Even that was hard to meet some weeks with appointments and Maximo’s lack of energy. All of the above good news means that I am able to return to full time work just in time for our busy field season!
We have had a wonderful spring! Starting with spring break in California visiting my family and friends and taking Maximo to do all the fun activities that were planned for Thanksgiving break last year. A few weekend camping excursions. And some bike riding of course.
Summer plans are shaping up to be a blast as well with visits to Yellowstone and Glacier NP’s, backpacking, swimming lessons, and hopefully ending with burn camp just before school starts. The University of Utah hosts a four night summer camp for burn survivors ages 6-12. Maximo will turn six in June and the thought of sending him to an overnight camp without mom or dad at his age is slightly anxiety producing. Yet talking with other burn survivor mothers, they say it is life changing for their children to be around other children who are just like them. Children who wear compression garments, have to do streching every day, etc.
So much to be grateful for and so much fun to look forward to. I have been telling everyone I see who asks how Maximo is doing the same answer: People say children are resielient, but Maximo has redefined that word for me. I have never seen anyone be a better example of putting one foot in front of the other and keep moving when life tries to set you back. If not for the scars on his body, one would never suspect he endured the trauma he did. He seems unchanged by the whole event.
I do have some not great news. There was another five year old boy hit by a vehicle while riding his bike only two blocks away from where Maximo was hit. I have started a GoFundMe account for the family because we have been in their shoes and want to do something to help but also because their access to support is limited. I know a lot of you who donated are from our wildland fire family and this is a tough time of year to ask for money. If you don’t have it can you at least help share the link through your social media outlets. Thank you again for all your amazing support.
We had a wonderful homecoming. We were greeted at the airport by Boise PD, Boise Fire, Ada Co Paramedics, and several of the first responders who were at the crash. Joe and Maximo rode in the fire truck home and we were all surprised at the house with a new, custom tree house (pictures below).
The first day home we had to ourselves and we got a Christmas tree decorated to kick off the holiday season. The second day home Maximo asked when he could return to Kindergarten. I was expecting him to be out of school for quite some time, but we met with his school and they agreed to start one hour a day (Kindergarten is only 2.5 hrs) after the Christmas break. He has been back at school this week, is enjoying it, and I think it has been good for his continued healing to get back to some of his routine prior to the crash.
We also met with local media the second day home. If you have not seen the stories, here are the links.
Jacki already posted my interview with Boise State Public Radio. Some of the best news to come out this last month is the change to the Idaho State drivers licence handbook and test, fueled by Maximo’s crash.
This is definitely very helpful in our healing as a family to see something positive come out of this tragedy. I believe there will be more further down the road.
Maximo got a bike at the Boise Bike Project’s Christmas give away. Though he now knows what happened to him, he still hops right on his bike like nothing ever happened which is quite a blessing.
BBP arranged for all seven children of the woman driving the van to receive bikes as well. Joe and I were lucky to meet her when she came with some of her children to pick up their bikes. My words wont give justice to the healing moment this was for us. Though she does not speak my language and I don’t speak hers, we hugged and held eachother for several minutes, in tears, and I think we both understood the language of motherhood. She saw Max riding his new bike and I think she understood that everything is okay.
We had some of Joe’s family for Christmas which was lovely. The day held quite a lot of significance for me, yet we did not do much out of the ordinary to mark what a truly special gift the day was. In a way it was nice to feel the normalcy of a lazy Christmas day with family, food, and fun, all the while deep down inside I was overflowing with gratitude and awe of our own Christmas miracle.
The last few weeks have been busy with physical therapy and doctors appointments. This last Monday with the orthopedic was some of the best news in a long time. Maximo was cleared to not use the walking boot anymore and the surgeon said his xray (from November 30) showed considerable bone growth. So when we asked how long until Maximo could get back on skis, his only concern was the ski boot irritating some of his surface wounds/scars as they continue to heal. He still has a slight limp in his left leg, slightly reduced range of motion in the left ankle, and he is still gaining muscle strength in that leg. So today we hit the slopes! We took it easy, but it was a day for rejoycing for sure! Pictures below show what prayers, science/medicine, a supportive community, faith, and a strong will can get you.
Tomorrow we meet with our friend at the BBP to discuss where we want to take The Max campaign. Hopefully we will have some good things in the works for this spring when more cyclists start to get out on our roads. Till then, it may be a while between posts, but I do plan to keep you all updated when something significant happens. Thank you again for your continued support.
To the entire Wyatt family, you are all truly incredible. I am humbled by your strength, perseverance, kindness, and love. You are all examples of what the human spirit is capable of accomplishing. Thank you for allowing us all to join you on this bittersweet journey.
Courtney recently did an interview with Radio Boise. Please take a moment to read or listen to it. She is the definition of love throughout it, well-spoken and kind in her responses.
Warm wishes to you all this holiday season!
I will post a donation soon I just wanted to let you know he's been in my prayers. I was there yesterday after the accident. I was the woman in the bandana holding his hand before his 4 heroes lifted the van and hos rockstar dad pulled him free. If you need anything, please let me know.
Please- it is crucial to have happy, positive thoughts, for those influence everything. Dismiss "what-if" thoughts, and replace worrisome anxiety with fond memories. God is working His magic here, and you can help with encouraging words, and smiles, and THAT will help Max heal and get him home! Thank you, All! Go Super Maximo!
I live on Kootenai between Owyhee and Latah and talked to a police officer in charge of neighborhood watch today. We discussed the times of day that I see speeding and cars rolling through the 4 way stops. She said they'll send a stronger police presence to Kootenai and surrounding streets during these times. These streets and intersections must be made safer to protect our children!
Marla and Rog Hackler that picture of Max in your profile is just how I know him! His signature green melon helmet. I live across the street from Courtney and Joe and we always see Max riding his bike behind one of them as they come to and fro. I saw on the news about a 5 year old hit on Kootenai and Owyhee. I saw his green melon helmet and my heart sunk. I imideitably recognized it and his dad's bike. Courtney, Joe, and Max we are praying for you guys. The whole neighborhood. ❤️
At 5:30pm on Monday October 19th at 3703 W. Kootenai St., there will be a Neighborhood Safety Meeting for residents living in the area surrounding the intersection of Owyhee and Kootenai, were Maximo Wyatt was hit while riding his bike. This meeting will focus on tangible changes we as residents can make to create the safest possible neighborhoods for our children and all residents. One specific goal is for neighbors to organize an annual block party, closing off vehicle traffic at the intersection of Kootenai and Owyhee, to remind us to protect and celebrate the children of this neighborhood with a bicycle safety course, ice cream social and other kid friendly activities. For more details about the meeting agenda, see my post on the Boise Bench Dwellers Facebook page.
I just wanted Joe and family to know they are being thought about in Glenwood,WA. We are having a silent auction and taco feed to raise money tonight. This last weekend our 7th graders decided to put on a bake sale and car wash with all of the money going to the Wyatt family. We were so blessed to have Joe working on the fire in our town. He came into our school to read to our students. Joe made a difference in our lives we hope to make a difference in his.
My prayers and love are sent to Max and his family. I drive on Kootenai often, picking up my grandson at South Junior High. It is imperative to obey the four way stops and speed limit!! This will make me more aware of my surroundings and the children getting out of school as I drive. God Speed your recovery, little one.
We are praying for you in Glenwood, WA. Our kids were so blessed to have Joe come to school and read to them while missing his family at home. I'm praying for peace and comfort for all of you and for healing for Max. May the God of peace fill your hearts.
Hi, it is so wonderful to hear Max was out skiing!!! Is there anyway to still donate to The MAX campaign?
Best news ever. Thank you for continuing to share your lives with us. Your family has become an integral part of our community heart.
So happy to hear all the good news! Home!!!! What a word! Sending lots of love from Napa❤️
I have been following you since the beginning. and hoping for thew best for your family. After all you have been through so wonderful to see Maximo is going home even though he has a long way to go home will be wonderful. The picture at the aquarium is great. My daughter will be so glad to see you.