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Support Officer Elia Lewin-Tankel

$119,229 of $110,000 goal

Raised by 912 people in 3 months
Created October 27, 2017
On October 18th, 32-year-old Officer Elia Lewin-Tankel was on duty on his bicycle, when he was struck by a suspect's car. He suffered a serious head trauma, and was taken to San Francisco General Hospital, where he underwent emergency surgery to remove part of his skull to manage swelling in his brain.

Elia is making slow, but incremental progress. We are buoyed by the changes we see every day. It will be a long recovery, but he has a fighting spirit and we know he will persevere. As Shideh (Elia’s wife) eloquently wrote, "This is not the end of Elia's story." He is being cared for by the incredible ICU staff at SF General Hospital and with deep support from the San Francisco Police Department.

Currently, Shideh is an English teacher at Mission High (a San Francisco public school) and her paid time off will soon be exhausted. We want to ensure that she can continue to be by Elia's side—without any additional worry—as he recovers.

Any amount helps and will go directly to supporting this young family during this difficult and unexpected experience.

Donate now to support Elia and Shideh.
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Hello everyone,

Just a quick update to let you know that Elia has continued to make great progress after returning to the rehab facility.

After the series of surgical complication symptoms from his skull replacement abated and he was able to return to regular physical and speech therapy, he's been working hard each and every day, as he always does.

He's still talking with regular frequency, and music has been an big source of strength and progress during his recovery—when his favorite music is playing, he'll often complete the lyrics.

He's started eating solid foods and drinking water, and no longer needs the feeding tube, which is a huge psychological boost for someone recovering from a TBI. He's regained enough dexterity to to drink water on his own (lifting a cup from his hand to his mouth to drink), which is impressive and heartening to see.

Now that his skull is fully intact and healing, he has started regular physical therapy. He's rolling over on his own, and his physical therapy team gets him out of bed and, with the assistance of some incredible robotic supports, he's in the very beginning stages of relearning to walk.

As always, we're amazed and inspired by Elia's—and Shideh's—incredible strength and resilience. Their love is pulling them through this difficult process, and it's remarkably beautiful to witness.

Finally, I'm most happy to share this piece of wonderful news, for those who aren't aware yet: Elia & Shideh are expecting their first child, a baby boy, in May.

As always, thank you all for everything you've done to support Elia, Shideh, and their growing family.

All the best,
k&c
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Hi everyone,

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season.

Elia returned to SF General on 12/27 to have the missing portion of his skull replaced. The initial surgery went well, but there was fluid buildup after the surgery that needed to be addressed.

Elia underwent an additional surgery to place a shunt for fluid draining. The shunt wasn't working as it should, so a couple of days later he had a third surgery to reposition it. The third and final surgery was successful, apart from a few minor complications that have since resolved.

We're very happy to report that Elia is being transferred back to SCVMC, hopefully later today, to continue rehab. The progress that Elia has made at SCVMV is undeniable. He's awake and alert for much longer periods, starting to return to a normal sleep/wake pattern, and working with a talented speech therapist. And now, with his most recent surgery, the physical therapy team will start the process of getting Elia moving more outside of his bed and chair.

Elia's will power, endurance, and most importantly, his love for his wife, seem to be the primary drivers of his progress. In short, Elia has so much fight, and so much to fight for.

Thank you for your continued support of Elia, Shideh, and their family. It means everything.

Best,
k&c
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Hi everyone,

It’s been another good week for Elia & Shideh. Since moving to the rehab unit, Elia has been working with speech and physical therapists several hours per day, most days of the week. They are pushing him, and he’s rising to the occasion with hard work and measurable progress.

In the short time he’s been in the regular rehab unit, he’s begun speaking very intermittently. Sometimes he can carry a thread of logic through, other times he has more difficulty. He’s also been able to follow commands more consistently. For example, when prompted by his therapist, he’s responding to commands such as: “find my hand; squeeze my hand; let go of my hand.”

He’s now able to occasionally swallow on his own, which means he can begin the process of trying to eat and drink very soft foods. His speech therapist was bribing him with ice chips when we visited, and he ate some chocolate pudding. This is a good step toward weaning him off the feeding tube, which is likely uncomfortable and leaves an unpleasant taste in his mouth. Elia loves good food, so we imagine bribery will be an effective tool in motivating him.

Elia will return to SF General next week sometime, so the surgical staff there can replace the piece of skull they initially removed. Again, this is another good step forward.

Happy holidays to all of you. This season, we’re grateful for each of you—your support, generosity, encouragement, and for all you’ve done to hold Elia, Shideh, and their family in the light.

k&c
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Hi everyone,

It's been a good news week. First, and most important, Elia is making great strides at SCVMC. He is being moved from the trauma unit to the rehabilitation unit in the next few days, because he no longer requires critical care and is alert enough to participate in physical therapy for a couple hours most days.

We're certain Elia will shine in this phase of his recovery. Any progress that can be accomplished through hard work, sheer force of will (and a little stubbornness), Elia will achieve. He's made amazing progress in the seven weeks since his accident, and is now oriented to place.

At the end of the month, he will return briefly to SF General to have the portion of his skull that was initially removed put back in place.

Second, we had an incredible turnout at the benefit for Elia & Shideh last week, and we'd like to thank each of the nearly 500 of you who attended. (Photos attached.) By all measures, it was an incredible success. A special thanks to Mary Conde & Rae Einerson at Another Planet Entertainment for their Herculean efforts organizing the event. We can't thank you enough.

Last, in response to the tidal wave of support you all have provided, Shideh shared this passage with us. It's such a beautiful and appropriate sentiment, that we'd like to pass it along to you:

"Inspiration and wretchedness complement each other. With only inspiration, we become arrogant. With only wretchedness, we lose our vision. Feeling inspired cheers us up, makes us realize how vast and wonderful our world is. Feeling wretched humbles us. The gloriousness of our inspiration connects us with the sacredness of the world. But when the tables are turned and we feel wretched, that softens us up. It ripens our hearts. Both the inspiration and the wretchedness can be celebrated. We can be big and small at the same time." - Pema Chodron

Shideh added, "THANK YOU for making us feel BIG."

With love,
k&c
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$119,229 of $110,000 goal

Raised by 912 people in 3 months
Created October 27, 2017
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