We may have moved on but there are so many people still reeling and rebuilding from the damage done by hurricane Irma. We’ve been lucky enough to discover a young man who could really use our help to rebuild.
This is why we’ve created a fundraiser, please consider contributing to our rebuilding efforts!
Read about Braeden was diagnosed:
On January 6th, 2016 at the age of 16, Braeden was at home right after high school when hw started suffering with chest pains , he went to the clinic and BP was 200. By the time he got to the hospital in Tortola he was paralyzed from the neck down/ He was flown out to Kendal Regional memorial in Miami Florida where they said he was a full blown quadriplegic.
What caused this? Syringomyelia- a disorder in which a cyst formed on the spinal Cord. The cyst (called a syrinx) elongates overtime destroying portions of the spinal cord. As this widens it injures the nerve fibers that carry info from the brain to the extremities. (Braeden’s condition). Causes: Unknown …
Braeden so far has had 2 operations and 3 MRI’s done to drain a cyst that was found in the spine of his neck.
1. He removed 2 vertebrae out of his neck to relive the pressure and stop any further damage.
2. He was hemorrhaging, so doctors had to do a second surgery to see what was causing the bleeding and drained it. They cleaned some bleeding and alot of clotting in the area of the surgery around the spine of the neck.
Braeden is presently paraplegic from the chest down. He has no feelings in the hands eventho he can use them to eat or use his phone etc. He cannot tell if a piece of food is hot unless you tell him
biopsy tests has came back negative, No tumors or NO signs of cancer.
We’re excited to start a fundraising page to help with these efforts. We wanted to share with you a powerful and raw account from his mother about the damage done by hurricane Irma:
We lived together in Jost Van Dyke, my son Braeden (18) whom is paraplegic and my other son (21) that is diabetic. Before hurricane Irma was to approach the Caribbean islands, I had originally made preparation to stay at a friends house which is concrete with a wooden roof. The day before the hurricane, I made preparation, packed food and clothing to walk with, secured many of my belongings in heavy duty garbage bags and stored them in the house on top of the bed in case of flooding. Some things I stored on my son’s hospital bed after I raised it up high off the ground and unplugged the electrical cords.
The day before the storm, we left my paraplegic son, belongings, his wheel chair, his Hoya lift and we headed out to the east. My older diabetic son was determined to ride out the storm don’t mind how much I begged him “please” you don’t know what you are about to face (speaking of past and similar experiences with hurricane Marylin. As I left, I advised him “please don’t stay here. Head for higher ground as they mention how high the waves for this storm was hoping to be.
When I reach at my friends home in the east, I got out the jeep and walk to the door. My cousin told me to hold on, they are going to call their dad. While they was doing that, a voice spoke to me and say call the camp ground. At that moment before my friend had came to the door I called my cousin whom owned the campground and I asked her “who is staying in the guest house? She said “Celia (another cousin and her children) is staying upstairs the first guesthouse, mother and daddy is downstairs. I am staying upstairs the second guest house and bluez (the campground maintenance) is staying downstairs of me”. I said well I will call Celia because the guesthouse she is in has two rooms and the roof is concrete. She told me to go ahead. I called Celia and she say ” yeah come”. By that time my friend came to the door and I said I am going to the campground. They said “but we prepared a room for you, we are cooking. We were expecting you. I said that’s OK, I will go campground. I will come back later to collect the food so we left for the campground. As I headed to the campground, I stopped by my home and told my older son ” change of plans. I will be staying campground instead so I encourage him to go with us with much begging and pleading to come with us. Finally he gave in and came with us unhappy about it.
The night before the storm was to approach, I decided to return to the house for more supplies, cases of water, case of yogurt, bread and the essentials to make sandwiches, my smart TV but I forgot the remote (chupes). Hung out with my cousin, her daughter and two grand children for the night till we got sleepy. my older son had left again and I was scared that he had went back to the house so on the way I stopped by the house while collecting more supplies, I checked for him but he was not there so I assumed that he was by one this friends but about 3:00am in the morning while we were asleep, he came to the window shining the light with his phone and telling me to open the door please. Apparently he was down by the campground playing games on his PlayStation and TV but when it got windy, he walked up to the guest house with his TV and his PlayStation.
AS IRMA MAKES HER APPROACH
I went back to the house about minutes to 8:00am for more supplies and pick up the control because I don’t know how long I would be there after the storm passes but I forgot the stupid control again but however the wind was getting a little more higher so I knew it won’t be long before BVI electricity shut down their power. About 10:00 o’clock the winds picked up and the curtains was beginning to touch the ceiling fan, but it was nice and comfortable. I then proceeded to clean up my paraplegic son and hook him up to the machine and put him in the wheelchair, then I left him by the bedside sitting. My jeep parked flush against the building so the building can protect it we waited.
As the winds picked up, I told my elder son to bring his brother out of the bedroom and close the door and park him in the little hallway between the two bedrooms and the bathroom. My cousin had brought the mattress from the other bedroom where she was occupying and put on the floor earlier because it was getting windy and water was springing inside. I advised her to lean up the mattress against the tiny closet and use one of the couches behind of it to brace it as she would need it (the mattress) to shield herself and she did. I place myself in the closet with her holding on to the mattress while my older son cover his brother with his body protecting him from the wind. Then I heard that sound. What sound? The sound of a train.
I once lived in Texas for 10 years, I was told whenever you hear a tornado or hurricane coming, it will sound like a train in the distance.
I turn to my cousin and I said “she coming now”. She ask who coming? I said IRMA. I told her about what I learnt while living in Texas. We watch as the pressure from the wind pressed against the windows and had them going in and out then it happened. BOOM POW and the sound of glass sprinkling all over the floor. At that moment I ordered my son to push his brother in the bathroom. He asked me how. I told him anyway you have to do it. Try pushing his chair in the bathroom. If you can’t get the chair in, pull him off and carry him in but work fast. He turned him around and wheeled him and shimmy him till he get him in backwards. As my son was going into the bathroom with fright, he say ma, I just want to thank you for everything you done for me. You went to Florida with me and save my life. I said, boy shut your mouth. Don’t thank me ” thank Jesus” and get yourself in the bathroom. My son ask me to close the opposite bedroom door to block the wind as he work with his brother but when I tried, IRMA then made her entry and yanked the door right out of my hand. I felt the wind sucking me in the bedroom towards the window so with fright I sat back down and my son grabbed the door and closed it but IRMA showed him who was boss. He however managed to get his brother in. He had two blankets one to protect his body and one to protect his face. Both soaking wet.
At this time there was a fury going on inside the house. I listened in horror as every window around that building popped and blew in. It literally sounded like some one was throwing bombs in the building. The wind was coming in the building sounding like a thousand demons screaming and entering every corner, crack and crevis. This dont even sound like a hurricane.
It just was not normal. I think a couple of tornadoes had lost their way. Am Like “oh Lawwd how many windows does this building have? Geese man. You would think after blowing out a couple windows the pressure would be released but nooo.. She had to take every one of them I begin to scream and pray ” please Jesus” I am sorry, we are sorry, forgive us. Am like please, please, please don’t destroy us. Remember we are human. We do not have the power to stand before you. Please remember. Then I felt the present of the rage left the house but the wind was just blowing hard and attacking every object in the house. I saw one of the coffee tables came and land where my son was sitting in his wheelchair. Thank God he had moved to the bathroom.
All the time my eldest son was exposed to anything that passed because all he was concern about was covering his brother body with his. The look of it was heart warming but fright was screaming in my head at the same time. At that time somebody’s galvanize flew through the bedroom window and land by my feet. I only felt my foot burning and when I looked down, I saw the galvanize just scraping away at my foot. Am like what the? I heard my cousin say “the door gone” she blow in the door. I told my son “man I can’t stay here. This galvanise want to cut away my foot. I need to go in the tub. My cousin telling me ” no Lela don’t go. And all am thinking about something approaching us from above and hitting us in the head or chopping my fingers off while trying to hold on to this mattress so I had to go but only thing is I couldn’t get up. Every time I tried, I felt the pressure holding me down for safety maybe? Then I felt something around me that was weighing me down released me and I got up. Then I hear my cousin yelled once again. The stove gone thru the door. I jump up then and my son reach back from the bathroom door and yanked me forward and I landed in the tub. My cousin then called me and ask me if I wanted her grandson. My son also left his brother to grab the little boy, passed him to me then went back to protecting his brother with his body. Once again my cousin yell “the microwave gone thru the window. Right about now I can’t think now, I have been beaten. I ask Lord who did you tell to stand on the mountain and you will pass behind their back because if they saw your face they could not live? Was that your back we saw just now?
Then the wind started to withdraw its presence from the house after and only after it had destroyed everything in the house except the refrigerator. It it got calm. I told my son we are in the calm but she is not gone. That was the head but the tail is coming and sometimes the tail is worst. He ask me how. I said a hurricane is like a dragon. Her head breeds fire and destroy stuff in her part but the tail whips about like a dragon bring total destruction. He hopped up on the toilet to look out and yelled. I ask him what is wrong? He said ma, campground gone. I said what do you mean gone? He said ” when I say its gone I mean its gone. I ask him if he sure of what he is seeing. He replied “I know what the campground looks like. I say it’s gone. He went outside and returned. Ma, campground gone, Escape gone, most of White Bay Villa small building is gone. Then I got up and look out and around and was speechless. Still is.
I had left my puppy ” taffy” outside tied by a long string that he would be able to run under the jeep or something. My cousin told me to loose her. I ask why, I can’t do that. Where will she go? She said animals are smart. They know how to find some place to protect themselves and when the storm is over they does return. Well so help me she was correct. When my son went outside he found her shivering like a little wet rat. We wrapped her in a shirt and rest her on top of the end table because the entire floor was flooding under water. She stayed there on that end table wrapped up and did not move till the next day. I think she was traumatized.
My uncle came out from the downstairs to ask if we were alright and said they heard a lot of stuff upstairs breaking, falling and moving about so they were concern about us.
The wind started to pick up again and everyman went back to his corner. This was the longest tail I have seen. Like come on now. Time to go. When you think she is easing up is when you hear the blows pounding on the walls outside. I guess she was angry that the roof was concrete. Come on go now geese. Chupes. Anyway she departed leaving the place in total destruction, a floor floating in water, all the windows for the guest house scattered about inside the floor, all the beds destroyed and wet, my son in his wheelchair wet, shivering, nowhere to lay him or change him, my other son insulin went thru the window and he walking about with Crocs on broken glass, and nobody knows where to turn. the other guest house down the hill was the same predicament all except one room but had water . every one had to manage how to sleep for the night. All the beds and chairs etc was wet. We had to maneuver my son down the hill in his wheelchair, backwards. My uncle came to help us because my son said the chair was too heavy, and it felt like the chair was getting away from him down the hill. We eventually got him down, put him to bed on some semi-wet sponge, unable to change his pamper, so he had to go to bed wet as it was getting dark and the area to change him was not convenient.
We got up the morning to clean out the water and mud out of the one bedroom, bushes and leaves all over the wall. Broken glasses and closet door etc. The guest house next door was destroyed and collapse but their bed was dry. I asked my son to get me one so I could put his brother on to change him and put him to lay down. This was sometimes the next day around 2pm. So he actually stayed in his clothes from the morning of IRMA till two o’clock the next day before changing. Couple days we was flown to Puerto Rico because my son had an infection and was running a fever and I was admitted because I could not breathe. So exactly why did I have to come to Puerto Rico just in time to await the coming of Maria? Exactly why did this building was flooding from the fourth floor coming down all the rooms but not one window was broken? Well I don’t know but I was not going thru that again. I packed all my belongings in the bathroom on the chairs, commode, sink, anywhere off the ground, picked up my purse and told them to get my son in a wheel chair and take us down to the bottom floor. They took us down in the area where xrays are done and no windows or doors where we met others that had the same idea as us.
I do not know how Puerto Rico use to look but I know Jost Van Dyke looks like it use to when I was a little girl growing up with no houses but a few, no streets cut and paved and without all the debris strewn about and no electricity. We have been thrown back to the days of old when I remembered it at the age of nine.