A Michigan man who spent the past eight months caring for his paraplegic brother suffered an accident that has paralyzed him from the neck down.
MLive reports that Adam Chaffee, the 23-year-old who had been caring for his brother, 25-year-old Matt Chaffee, since a motorcycle accident in November left Matt paralyzed from the chest down.
Matt moved in with Adam in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Adam helped Matt gain a positive outlook after his injury, and he also helped his older brother with everyday tasks such as grocery shopping, cooking meals and maneuvering his wheelchair.
Everything changed on July 26 in a gruesome repeat of history.
Adam was on a dock with friends when somebody pushed him into the lake. He tried to do a flip but landed on his head. Nobody knew the water was so shallow.
"I feel like I was just starting to get comfortable with my disability," Matt said. "I was starting to become positive again. I had a better outlook on life, then all of a sudden this happens to him."
Medical staff rushed Adam into surgery at Bronson Methodist Hospital in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Adam’s spinal cord is completely severed, with no sensation or function below his collarbone. He can move his biceps and shoulder but cannot grip anything, Matt said. The tetraplegic cannot eat or talk, and he cannot breathe on his own, although he is conscious.
"It's been hard," Matt said. "We've been with him 24/7. The only time we leave the room is when they kick us out. We're all just hoping for a miracle."
It is unlikely Adam will regain use of most of his body, but the family hopes that one day, he will be able to use his arms.
"Being able to use a manual wheelchair instead of an electric wheelchair, that would be a huge blessing," Matt said.
The Chaffee family, who lost their father in 2012, set up a GoFundMe account to help pay medical bills and afford care that is not covered by insurance, such as a mobility van and voice-recognition software.
In just three days, the Chaffees have raised $37,000 out of their goal of $50,000 as of July 31.
“It feels like we are in this together,” Matt said.