Help Sami Fagen in Intensive Care!

$110,657 of $149,000 goal

Raised by 804 people in 13 months

Sami Fagen, 
a Senior at Oakwood Secondary School, was in a terrible car accident on Saturday May 26th 2018.

Early Saturday morning, a police officer called and said our oldest daughter, Sami, had been admitted at UCLA Intensive Care Unit from an overturned car accident where she had to be mechanically extracted from a Toyota Prius. She is stable but critical, induced coma for several more days, multiple injuries including fractured pelvis, fractured elbow, brain swelling that is being operated on as I write this, neck fracture, lacerated liver; lots of stuff to deal with at the moment. 

This is my oldest step-daughter, Sami, 18, who was a passenger in a car. The crash happened on a winding road in the palisades with a childhood friend who was on summer break after his first year at the University of San Francisco. No drugs or alcohol involved - both really good students. Very Tragic. The driver is having an arm compound-fracture worked on today. We are supported by lots of friends, and Barbara and I are taking turns staying at the ICU at UCLA - staying positive as much as possible.  

Sami is the oldest of 7 siblings: 6 sisters and 1 brother. She loves to dance. She is a natural artist, and has an eye for fashion. She was about to graduate high school, and was planning to start college in the Fall at Marist College, in Poughkeepsie New York and study psychology. 

We have no idea what the final hospital bills will look like but she is potentially going to need months of recovery. If you feel moved to support Sami - we all thank you from the bottom of our hearts. The outpouring of support is beyond anything I have felt before - so thank you for all the love!  

Please share this far and wide! We are all in this together. 

We will post updates when we can, so stay tuned...
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Update 6/19/19
Today is Sami's younger sister, Cate's, 17th Birthday. I know she would wish Cate the best birthday ever - and also make sure she had the perfect hair, makeup, and outfit for her special day.

Although it's been a long time since my last update, Sami is still fighting and healing. In the beginning, it was annoying to hear people keep telling us it was "a marathon, not a sprint," but now I see what they meant. We all thought Sami would be better by now - maybe even in College. We all would like to see a faster recovery, but we have learned to be patient with Sami's healing journey.

Sami has been in San Jose, CA at a Rehab Hospital–the best place she's been so far–since April 23rd. She developed a stage 4 bedsore on her tailbone while at Cedars in Los Angeles and that was the first thing that was addressed when she got to San Jose - that, and getting more rehab! Since her bedsore was preventing a more vigorous rehab schedule, we decided to proceed with a procedure to close her wound. She's now on bedrest for 1-2 months until her wound is healed, then she'll start having more rehab & therapy.

Sami is not able to respond to us yet. She started getting more responsive and began trying to talk several months ago, but she had some seizures after an operation at Cedars and is still recovering from that. She is reactive to various stimuli, breathing on her own, good vitals, alternating between sleep and wakefulness, stretches and yawns really big, and has one hell of a strong cough!

Prognosis is still positive. She is expected to heal from her latest procedure, begin cutting back on a few anti-seizure medications and start having more therapy. The hospital staff in San Jose have been wonderful and we are pleased with her overall care. Thank you for continuing to keep Sami in your thoughts and being so supportive!
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Since the car accident on Saturday, May 26th, 2018, our lives have been changed. But none more than Sami's. She has been in hospitals from the Valley to Orange County and is currently at Cedars. She has healed multiple broken bones, fought off infections, survived multiple surgeries, pneumonia, and is currently healing from a stage-4 bed sore and lung issues.

When we spend time with Sami, we feel like she's aware that we're with her, but she isn't able to communicate with us yet. Several months ago, at another hospital, she was beginning to respond to us with small movements. However, she had another operation which resulted in a few seizures, and she is slowly recovering from that.

Sami (and our family) have had a ton of support from family and friends which has lightened the burden for all of us. We can't thank you enough. Out of everyone, her mother has been with her the most, tirelessly advocating for Sami to make sure she 's getting the care she deserves...which is not easy! She has not had a break in 9 months - working as a teacher, spending time at the hospital, raising 3 other daughters, doing physical therapy with Sami (since the hospital staff won't); the list is literally endless.

Sami's uncle was recently visiting and did a lot of physical therapy with her. Although it feels like she had yet another setback after her last seizures, we see positive signs and are hopeful for her continued recovery.

Please keep Sami in your prayers and send positive thoughts and energy her way. She's a fighter and she's not done yet! Love, Joel xxx
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Update 10/27/18

{from Sami's mom, Barbara} Sami turns 19 this coming Monday Oct 29. She was planning to celebrate this year with new college friends in New York. And while I am glad that I get to be with her on her birthday, it makes me super sad. She can't even tell me what she wants this year. Or help me plan her party. And anyone who knows Sami knows she was always very opinionated about such things. So I am going to send out a Gofundme link again if anyone feels to get her a gift. We have been so grateful to have some funds to support her recovery. So far we've spent money on items insurance won't cover (like a temporary wheelchair rental, out of network doctors, oral care items) and some really awesome caregivers who have been Sami's advocates when her dad and I can't be there - even at all hours of the night. I have used up more than half my FMLA so I know caregivers will continue to be needed this year. And they are a true gift for Sami. And there will always be treatments and therapies and equipment and specialists that insurance won't cover.

Thank you to our generous friends and family for all you have done to support us so far. Send some good birthday vibes our way on Monday.
Joel's Update:
Sorry for the lack of more frequent Sami updates on this gofundme page! Barbara posts more about Sami's progress on facebook, and there hasn't been too much change with Sami. She continues to be in a semi-conscious state. She alternates between wake and sleep but her brain is still not able to form channels of communication with us. Not too long ago, she was transferred from an acute care facility to a home medical care environment with staff to help with various forms of therapy and treatment. Sami has made attempts to use her voice on a few occasions and has made small movements with a finger after prompting. We do range-of-motion with her at least 2x daily to keep her body moving, and she sits in a chair for a few hours/day. We play her music, movies, read and talk to her, she has some friends who visit, sometimes someone paints her nails. We have also had family visit from the Seattle area, Oakland, Sacramento, and San Francisco, and that has been very helpful!

A few days ago, Sami was admitted to the ER to get a CT Scan of her brain. There was concern that she had encephalitis (swelling of the brain). She has now been transferred to another hospital, and is there right now under observation, but seems to be ok and stable.

Thank you for the continued prayers and positive thoughts for Sami. Her 19th Birthday is Monday.

<3 <3 <3
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Sami has been in a semi-conscious state for a few months after the car accident, and has just made her first vocal sounds! I never thought I would be this happy over someone using their vocal chords.

While mostly laying in a hospital bed since the end of May, and after multiple operations, she has healed her fractured pelvis, her C2 spine non-displaced fracture seems good, her fractured elbow has a pin and it looks good, the shunt in her head seems to be working, and we have been waiting and praying for her to start communicating with us and the world again. We are so thankful for friends and family that continue to lend a hand or offer support. Barbara has been spending so much time and energy advocating for Sami and is constantly tired. We are ready for a break.

Hoping today is the first day of a new transformation!
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Raised by 804 people in 13 months
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