Austins Recovery and Rehab
Team Member: Cynthia Gualy
John Cassidy wrote -
A lot of you are familiar with my brother Austins story. Hundreds and even thousands of people have shown so much support and prayer for his recovery. And I just want to thank each and every one of you!
For those who don't know, Austin was in a terrible motorcycle accident on the morning of September 4th 2015. The accident was in Yucaipa, CA where he lives and has grown up his whole life. From witness accounts, he was not speeding or driving erratically. He was just a new motorcycle owner, buying it brand new off the showroom floor just 6 weeks prior to the accident, and he just lost control of his bike and laid it down in a curve and slid into oncoming traffic where he hit a car head on. He was then thrown into the other lane where his head was ran over by a truck.
Austin is such a kind-hearted young man who is loved and admired by many. There are not many 22 year olds out there like him, his drive and determination in life are beyond words and his character beyond reproach. On August 28th 2015, he celebrated his 22nd birthday, you only had to spend five minutes talking with him to know he was headed for success. He was in school studying business to be an entrepreneur and planned to spend the next year traveling and experiencing life to its fullest.
Then in an instant everything changed. On September 4th, 2015 (only a week after celebrating his 22nd birthday) we received the horrendous news that he was involved in a horrible motorcycle accident and that the outcome would likely be grave. Nothing in life ever prepares you for this type of news and surely no mother or father, brother, sister or girlfriend is emotionally equipped to handle a situation like this. For the friends and family of Austin Aceves, time has stood still since that dreaded afternoon.
Austin suffered a very traumatic brain injury in his accident, but miraculously there were no other injuries, not even a broken bone. He only had one fractured bone in his foot. Unfortunately all the damage and trauma was to his head. He was in a coma in critical condition in the ICU in the great care of everyone at Loma Linda University Medical Center for the first 6 weeks. As of this writing today on September 4th 2016, marks 1 year exactly that Austin has been in a coma still. We were very fortunate with the type of insurance Austin has so that so far his insurance has covered the over 1.5 million dollars in hospital bills since his accident. But unfortunately its a different story once he is home. Insurance stops paying and helping for a lot of necessary things Austin needs to recover. Why does the system work that way? We don’t know, nor do we understand that. Its very saddening and most the burden all of a sudden just falls on the family, not only for round the clock care, but financially as well.
Austin just came home September 2nd. Just 2 days shy of his 1 year from the accident. Although we are glad to have Austin home, we didnt have much of a choice. He was not able to stay in the hospital any longer and no post acute, rehab, or skilled nursing facility would accept him because of his age. He is too old for a childrens facility, and too young for a nursing home. The system is completely screwed up at this stage and is missing a big hole for care. Its the lack of resources and facilities that have made us decide to bring Austin home. Austin has a long road to recovery. Unfortunately we know that recovery will outrun what the insurance will pay. And those costs could easily run into the tens or hundreds of thousands. Austin needs round the clock care. He is still fully dependant. We have NO nursing coverge or help at home. Right now it is his Mom Patti, his Girlfriend Alex, and Myself taking care of him with the help of his Father Gilbert and a couple other loving friends and family.
Austin is breathing on his own without a ventilator or any assistance from an oxygen masks. His trach was also removed a few weeks ago! Thats already such a huge stepping stone for Austin in his attempt to recover. The past few months he has started to open his eyes sporadically and look around. He has attempted to give a couple thumbs up, and has even muttered the word "YEA". We are seeing minor improvements every week, but the insurance or Dr's still haven't approved or pushed for any kind of special treatment or rehab. So that has left all our options up to the family to search out and ultimately try and get Austin into and pay for.
We are looking into aggressive new therapies such as Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy, Stem Cell Treatment and High Dose Omega-3 Supplementation to give Austin every fighting chance possible. He has fought so hard to come back this far along. Unfortunately none of these procedures are covered by insurance, so that means transportation to these specialized places is not covered either. We would need around $12,000 just for the Oxygen treatment alone, not including transportation costs. And we are still looking into a couple different places for the Stem Cell treatment and trying to get him into a study for its use on Traumatic Brain Injuries. If we had the funding for these resources, Austin has a much GREATER chance of fighting to be his old self again, to not be overran by this “invisible” injury that everyone tends to overlook.
There is multiple other things we would need help with funds for right away besides the treatments themselves. A couple of the major things are making the necessary changes to the house to make it handicap accessible. That includes building a new walk in shower that Austin can be rolled into. Also we desperately need a handicap van with a lift to be able to transport Austin to all his appointments not covered by insurance. And with only a couple people being full time caregivers, not being able to work, any extra money would go towards helping with bills. groceries, etc and maybe even helping to pay for in home nursing help once in a while.
We are hoping with the continued support of all the friends, family and community, we can make sure Austin gets through this with the best care he needs. Thank you all so much for all your prayers and support! Even if you cant donate, Please help share Austins story and hopefully with a little help from everyone, we can work together to help Wake Up Austin!!