Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Helping hands.

I'll admit it, I still log into my Myspace. Most of the time I just log on and spend the rest of my time checking out photos, random music and flipping through bulletins seeing if I missed out on anything important. Most of the time it results in about 45 minutes (around average for me) of skimming through useless surveys with clever titles while listening to singles from the Damned.. not exactly productive. On the rare occasion that I do come across something that matters though, it makes up for all the time mired in stuff that quite frankly, no one in their right mind would really care about. What I'm about to repost is of the former category, something that really does matter. A little less than a year ago a friend of mine's family was changed when her father was involved in an accident. The following was written by her little brother. Take a few minutes and give it a read.

My dad, Van Leer Kirkman Patton III, is and has been an extremely important part of my life. He's always been encouraging, and I've had many deep philosophical debates with him. He's made some mistakes, but I know that he is a great person. He's a person with a great sense of humor, a great spirit, and an overall positive attitude about life. He was the person who introduced me to music in the first place, always making it an important part of the home life, as well as getting me involved in piano lessons starting in 3rd grade. He also encouraged me to take up drums (5th grade) as well as guitar (7th grade). He had always been an extremely active person: bike riding, running, swimming, tennis, guitar, and piano to name a few. He is also a very accomplished engineer.

About this time last year, I received a call from one of my best friends telling me that my dad had been in an accident. I assumed it was a minor thing, and didn't truly understand the severity of it until I talked to one of my dad's (Van) closest friends about the situation. Turns out he was in a biking accident, and had been helicoptered off to USC medical center for urgent care. I drove down there with my friend's mom and waited in the waiting area for a chance to see him. When I did, he was covered in blood, and deeply deeply bruised, and could hardly breath or talk. However, he could only see one person, and requested to see me. I tried to be as encouraging as possible, but it was difficult to look at my dad on the verge of death.

After hours and hours of waiting in the hospital, we received the news that he was completely paralyzed from the waist down, and would probably never walk again. He had suffered a severe spinal cord injury, as well as numerous other broken bones. He also was semi paralyzed in his hands and many body movements. This news struck hard. This was the worst day in his, and my life. My family and I visited the hospital very frequently for the next few weeks and months. About 6 months or so after the accident, he was released from the hospital in a wheel chair. However, he had regained some feel of his toes (he could move them slightly), and he could even move his legs very very slightly. This was very encouraging and inspiring.

He, as well as myself, have been pushing HARD for his recovery. We believe he will be able to walk again, and the doctor's also think there's a chance. I've been helping him stretch his leg muscles on a daily basis for the last several months, and we've also taken regular trips to the gym in order to try to build back muscle in his upper body.

The point of this bulletin is to talk about the financial strain this has put on my family. My mom is unemployed, and my dad had been the sole provider for the family. He was making a good salary, and now he is completely unable to work. We need to get him walking again, as well as bike riding, running, and swimming, he needs financial help.

He wants to participate in a program called Project Walk. Project Walk is made just for people with spinal cord injuries with the sole motivation of getting them walking. We believe that if involved in this program, he will be able to walk again. However, this program is very expensive.

You can read more about it here:

A fund-raising campaign has been established in his honor with the Catastrophic Injury Program of the National Transplant Assistance Fund (NTAF) for Van's uninsured injury-related expenses. NTAF is a highly regarded nonprofit 501(c)(3) charitable organization which has been providing fund-raising support to organ and tissue transplant patients for over 20 years. In 2000, NTAF began working with spinal cord injury patients and their families.


If they or you feel uncomfortable about making a donation, please check out the NTAF website here- http://www. transplantfund. org/

In order to donate by check, please do the following:

Make checks payable to: NTAF Southwest Catastrophic Injury Fund
Note in the memo section: In Honor of Van Patton
Mail to: NTAF
150 N.

Radnor Chester Road, Suite F-120
Radnor, PA 19087

For credit card contributions, call NTAF at 1-800-642-8399 or visit www.catastrophicfund. org

It's never easy to ask for help, and now is no exception. Your help would be appreciated more than you could ever know, and would directly improve his recovery.

All donations made are tax-deductible.

So please, if you would like to help further, or are unable to donate, feel free to copy and paste this into a bulletin of your own, or show as many people as possible.


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