Derek’s Story

Last May, I was at work, underneath a car, when my coworkers found me unresponsive with no pulse. It was close to 7 minutes before the EMS showed up to start reviving. Due to the brain not receiving oxygen for at minimum 7 minutes, I suffered an anoxic brain injury. I spent around 20 days in Lake Norman Regional Medical Center in Mooresville, NC before being transferred to Northeast Hospital in Concord, NC. On July 17th, after being in inpatient care, I was flown to Boston, MA to start my rehab journey at Spaulding Rehabilitation Center.

Upon arriving at Spaulding, I was having a Neurological storm – which I had not been experiencing for a few weeks. The doctors and nurses couldn’t calm me down, so I was rushed to Mass General Hospital. Mass General discovered very large blood clots in my legs and areas surrounding my heart, bacteria in my lungs, and pneumonia. I spent some time in the ICU getting stronger before I was able to return to Spaulding. At Spaulding, I was able to participate in PT, OT, and Speech Monday through Friday. In the beginning, I was being fed through a feeding tube and was unable to swallow anything, including drinks and meds. Along the way, I regained a lot of what I had lost. I began to speak, laugh, cry, eat, drink, take my own medicine, play games, etc. – I was adjusting to my “new normal”. After two extensions, I was discharged from Spaulding and transferred to a small inpatient rehab near my father’s house in Portland, ME. I had the opportunity to spend a few weeks at New England Rehab while partaking in therapy. My next transfer was to my father’s house – I remained in therapy at New England Rehab, however I was now in outpatient rather than inpatient.

On May 1st, I made the choice to come back home to NC. I knew that I could get the same care, if not better, at home where I wanted to be. Since then, I have started PT, OT, and Speech at Carolina Rehabilitation in Huntersville, NC. Just recently, I have started at Race to Walk. I have made huge strides since coming home, but my end goal is to be able to walk without assistance. I am walking with assistance and a walker, however I still rely some on my wheelchair – that is why I am wanting to do as much as I can to regain as much as I can.

I am currently unemployed due to my injury. I receive disability each month, which is just enough to cover my rent, other small bills, and medical bills. After my initial consultation at Race to Walk, I felt like I could benefit greatly from this experience, on top of my other therapies. However, the financial aspect of this program is a huge concern for me.

My end goal, as previously stated, is to be able to walk without assistance. I hope to be able to return to work or some other type of job in the near future as well. I truly want as much of my life, before the accident, back. I am doing my best to be involved and partake in as much therapy/training as necessary. My determination and perseverance has remained strong since day one. This grant will help financially and it could leave a huge impact on my life and how much I am able to regain. The financial aspect of Race to Walk has and is a huge concern for me, this grant would ease my mind and allow me to feel confident in being able to go through this program.

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