Being a firefighter in Sacramento, we train to respond and mitigate life-threatening emergencies. Nothing could have prepared me for the battle my family was entering. While on vacation, my father and 8-year-old daughter, were traveling in front of me, in a separate vehicle, when they were struck by a retired military H1 Humvee. Our lives forever changed, in seconds.
I found myself shouting for bystanders to call 911 and to order a helicopter as I reached the vehicle. It had major damage, both were unconscious and trapped. I was able to free my daughters lifeless body from the wreckage. After giving my daughter several breaths, I knew that getting her to definitive care immediately was her only chance for survival. We were in a remote location, and help was miles away. With my daughter in my arms, using several vehicles and traveling miles, the race to emergency trauma care began. The reality of losing her loomed. I was literally holding her broken body together with my bare hands, feeling her slip away as every moment passed. Instead of praying for a miracle, I thanked the Lord for giving me the time I had with my daughter. Thankful her final moments would be in my arms. With a grateful heart I prayed for just a little help, because we both had fought too hard, and she was still here. "Just a little further" I prayed.
After two ambulance rides, a brief ER trauma assessment, and a CALSTAR helicopter flight we found ourselves at Fresno Community Regional Hospital. My daughter had sustained a traumatic brain injury, severe chest and internal injuries, multiple back injuries, and her leg had an open fracture that was nearly beyond repair. After several days, she needed to be moved to a hospital specializing in pediatric care.
We were lost, until we made contact with Dr. Brian Haus from Shriners Hospitals for Children, Sacramento. From our first conversation, Dr. Haus was supremely patient and compassionate. He listened intently, when we asked him for direction, he told us that he wanted her as his patient. On Easter Sunday, she was brought to Sacramento and placed in his care. He operated that night, Easter Sunday, finishing at 2:00 a.m.. Treating her as if she were his only patient. Dr. Haus and the Shriners staff continued delivering amazing care for the duration of our hospital stay, the lengthy rehabilitation and beyond. My daughter and father both survived the tragedy, but it's effects are lasting and indelible for us all.
Now, more than two years after our tragedy, the amazing team that cared for our daughter is coming together again, representing Shriners Hospitals for Children at the 2016 TAHOE TOUGH MUDDER. This is a 10-12 mile obstacle course testing grit and determination. Our team includes Dr. Haus, Dr. Boakes, RN Penny Graham, CALSTAR Flight RN Josh Henke, and myself.
Our mission is to raise much needed donations that will directly benefit the Sacramento Shriners Hospitals for Children (Shriners Hospital Northern California). Ranked as leaders in pediatric burns, pediatric orthopedics, and pediatric urology, they have earned a reputation for compassion, dedication, and expertise. No child is ever turned away based on their ability to pay so donations are the life blood of Shriners Hospitals for Children.
Please send your love by making a generous donation.
On behalf of the team, we thank you.