WHO AM I AND WHY ARE WE ARE ASKING FOR YOUR MONEY?!?!
In case this is the first thing you’re thinking, kind person who clicked on this link, don’t worry; I can explain.
For those of you who don’t know me or my story, please allow me to introduce myself. My name is Beth Cox, or Bethany, for those of you who like to keep it formal. 🙂 I can’t see how providing a short paragraph about what happened and what I would do with any funds I receive can suffice. If we are going to work together for a goal benefiting not only me, but countless others, maybe even you, I feel like it’s best if we go a little deeper. I need more than money; I need people to hear this, in the hopes of somehow turning all of this ugliness into something beautiful, to shoot a flare into the air, screaming, “I’m still here and you can’t break me. And if you’re anything like me, I’m right here; you are not alone.” I want to know the type of person who stops by, drops $10 in the bucket, or even just writes an encouraging message for me to read.
I died about 7 years ago. I lost my life, my body, and most of the people in it have forgotten me by now. The last words I said to my dad were, “I love you.” The last words my mother heard from me were in my typical long-winded text messages, telling her how much I missed being close with my entire family and how much I loved them. I suppose everyone goes through something heartbreaking and unexpected, an event that shakes you to your core and has you bargaining with God, even if you don’t believe. So, no-this isn’t a story you’ve never heard before, or if it is, it won’t be the first one, if you’re lucky. What happened to me seems not only unreal, but a lifetime ago. As I sit here, trying to find the right words to open an introduction to my story—not the cold, clinical, harsh details I will describe in a moment but the FEELING of the loss of yourself, I feel drained of all energy, wishing you could crawl into my memories and my body for a minute or two. I couldn’t possibly ask you to stay any longer; it’s not something I would wish on my worst enemy.
I know I owe it to myself to tell this story, because as embarrassing, humbling, guilty, and shameful as I feel asking for help, I know my future self would be disappointed if I let pride stand in the way of the possibility of furthering my physical and mental health, capabilities, independence, inner and outer strength, and yet another opportunity to see The hand of God working in my life.
On September 7th, 2010 I was a normal 25 year old, crazy in love with her boyfriend, working two jobs and going to school full-time. On one typical Tuesday morning, My boyfriend at the time ran into the back of a semi pulling off the road. I don’t remember anything and the months before are hazy. I suffered a severe brain injury where 1/3 of my brain was full of blood, shattered my C2 vertebra and dislocated my C3-5, broke my ribs and my arm, had contusions on my kidneys and lungs, collapsed both lungs and my trachea was severed from my larynx by over two centimeters. (They didn’t notice this until I breathed on my own for two hours when they were trying to extubate me from the ventilator and I am now in a medical book because of it). The surgery to correct this required a team of ENTS pulling whatever threads of my trachea they could find out of my neck muscles to reattach them to my voice box. I still remember the joy when the team came in after surgery, put a scope down my throat, and asked me to make the sounds “eeeee” and “ahhhhh.” Although no audible sounds could yet be heard, my vocal cords worked! The entire room was filled with tears and applause. I was not paralyzed initially and was still moving my arms and legs in the ER, but because my brain injury was so severe, they had to remove the entire right side of my skull to allow it to swell for eight weeks. During those four days I was in the deepest coma you can possibly be (87 percent of people in a level 3 coma on the Glasgow Coma Scale either die or become brain dead), my spinal cord stretched and swole. It took the surgeons two days-one 14-hour day and one 12-hour day to fuse my shattered and twisted vertebrae back together.
I was a fiercely independent, busy, lighthearted, hardworking, active “whirlwind” of a young woman who morphed into a quadriplegic, whose life now revolved around ventilators, blood pressure cuffs, bed baths, hospital gowns, and a feeling of total invisibility as doctor after doctor talked over me like I wasn’t even there. It all happened within a matter of minutes at an age so young and naive, my heart still hurts for that girl I used to be.
The doctors said I would never eat, talk, move, feel below my shoulders or breathe on my own. But what do doctors know? I was off the vent in two weeks, started kicking my legs and moving my arms in three, eating and talking in two months, and never lost sensation. And while that’s great and I am so grateful and blessed, I have still gone through years where I wish I had died, many periods of suicidal idealization, even planning. I didn’t think it was possible to mourn something so much, to feel so utterly and completely devastated and alone. I still get surprised when I cry because I was sure there wasn’t going to be a single tear left over.
I also used to think I didn’t have any other choice BUT to be strong. Now I realize that’s not the case, because I learned I CAN CHOOSE to stop comparing my life to others’, to stop dwelling on the “old me.” I don’t always make the right choice to this day and still get down, but I am now so thankful for every good thing that comes my way and show gratitude for it! For the first time in my entire life, I now see that Life is so, so, so beautiful.
What I need your help with:
For as long as I’ve been injured, my main goal/dream has been to attend the Beyond Therapy program at The Shepherd Center in Atlanta, Georgia, because of their expertise in dealing with brain and spinal cord injuries. They are one of the premier rehabilitation and research centers in the entire world for these injuries, and their program has the best therapists, technology, resources, and hope of potential for recovery. They work you out three hours a day, three times a week, and expect you to come in on your off days to make use of machines like an FES bike, a bicycle you pedal that has electrodes attached to different muscle groups so it rewires the brain by providing a physical stimulus to activate movement, which in turn teaches your brain to find new neuropathways. The best thing about this is, I already have muscle movement in every part of my legs so even the possibility of being able to stand independently or even walk is worth all of the work. Of course, all of your muscles are worked, and for someone like myself who’s nerves are pretty much all firing but yet has no independence, becoming stronger gives me limitless possibilities. Beyond Therapy is not covered by any type of insurance, Medicaid, or Medicare. Everything is out-of-pocket. It costs $100 per hour so that is $900 a week and I would love to be able to attend for a full year in order to truly reap the benefits. I know some of you might think it’s a ridiculous expense or that I could just go to regular outpatient PT and OT. I have for years and there simply isn’t anything as effective as rigorous, activity-based therapy done by the best. 🙂 This is my number one hope and need.
Cost of living in Atlanta will not only include an apartment with an extra bedroom for a live-in caregiver ($1,300-$2,000 a month), I also will have to find the funds to PAY my caregivers. Due to the level of actual nursing care I require, I require multiple different caregivers and most of them are not the type you can find in a home health type agency. Help with these problems would be incredible because if I can’t find caregivers, I cannot survive.
My mother did some research after an article I wrote was spreading on a website it was featured on. She learned about nerve and tendon transfers for the hands and arms for improved functionality, which would be huge for me and something that could possibly help me to become independent enough to not require a caregiver for 90 percent of my daily living skills. It is so incredibly difficult to find reliable help in the first place, and I’ve often been left lying in bed when they don’t show up. I could learn tasks such as how to dress myself, transfer my body, drive, shop, open a refrigerator door, make myself something to eat, fix my own hair, or pick up something I dropped, which sounds so small but are of such enormity to me. I have decided that I want the surgeries to be performed by the team at Shepherd also. I believe Medicaid and Medicare will cover the actual surgery, but not the hospital/clinic,anesthesia aspects.
All of this total will be over $100,000. I’m applying for every single scholarship and possible financial aid I can get, and it will take a miracle for this to happen. But all I can do is ask….
I know. I’m probably crazy for asking for so much. I know there are tons of people in the world who need help. But I’m one of them. And I can promise you I will work my hardest, keep you updated, make you proud, never waste your help nor take it for granted. I will be eternally grateful and thank you in advance. And hey, congrats if you actually read this far!
PS. In the miraculous chance I’m able to raise enough to do all of this, or even more, the leftovers of the money will be left in the communal pot here, so to speak, for someone else to use!
Thank you for your support!
Bethany has chosen to fundraise for Help Hope Live in part because Help Hope Live assures fiscal accountability of funds raised and tax deductibility for contributors. Contributors can be sure donations will be used to pay or reimburse medical and related expenses. To make a tax-deductible donation to this fundraising campaign, click on the GIVE button. And please consider sharing this link with others so they may donate as well.
Make checks payable to: Help Hope Live
Note in memo section: In honor of Beth Cox
Please send to: Help Hope Live
2 Radnor Corporate Center
100 Matsonford Road
Suite 100, Radnor, PA 19087
For more information, please contact Help Hope Live at 800.642.8399.
July 17, 2018
Praying for success
July 17, 2018
Thank you for asking. It took courage, but you are loved by many. Praying for success.
Darrell & Kaye.
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Make checks payable to:
Help Hope Live
Note in memo:
In honor of Beth Cox
Help Hope Live
2 Radnor Corporate Center
100 Matsonford Road
Radnor, PA 19087