Emily Progin, Content Manager
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OUTPOURING OF SUPPORT FOR 3-YEAR-OLD ZEKE CLARK AFTER LEG AMPUTATION
$38,000+ Raised in 1 Week Following Devastating June 7 Lawnmower Accident
LEWES, Del.—This week, the Lewes family will welcome home their toddler following an industrial accident at their home on June 7. Three-year-old Zeke Clark and his father were outside mowing the lawn together when the unthinkable happened: Zeke fell off the lawnmower and became trapped underneath it. Thanks to quick thinking from the family and the emergency response team, Zeke’s life was saved—but his lower right leg was amputated below the knee. As his family adjusts to their “new normal”, their community has stepped up with an outpouring of support through a fundraising campaign with the nonprofit Help Hope Live, raising over $38,000 in less than seven days.
The freak accident occurred while Zeke and his father, Jonathan, were doing their normal yard duties, which they have done together since Zeke was just one year old—a beloved weekly tradition. When the accident occurred, Zeke’s mother, Maria Clark DeForrest, Jonathan, and two of Zeke’s five siblings—Cameron, 16, and Chloe, 14—were able to spring into action as a team to take the key steps that would save Zeke’s life.
Jonathan experienced a rush of adrenaline during the emergency, mustering the strength of three full-grown adults to flip the lawnmower off of Zeke. “It was only by a miracle and the grace of God that my husband was given the physical strength to do what he did,” said Maria.
Working as a team, the family quickly called 911 while Jonathan used his nylon belt to create a tourniquet and stop the bleeding. The emergency rescue team arrived shortly after—Zeke and his mom were airlifted to Wilmington to get Zeke emergency care. The on-call surgeons at Nemours (A.I. DuPont) found that due to extensive tissue loss—common for industrial accidents such as this one—Zeke’s lower leg and foot could not be reattached.
Zeke spent 17 days receiving surgeries to treat the wound and prevent infection. He has made tremendous strides in recovery supported by Jonathan, who provides around-the-clock care to supplement the medical team at Nemours. “Jonathan and Zeke have always shared a close bond. Now, they are growing closer than ever as they are healing from this trauma together,” said Maria.
Shortly after the accident, Zeke’s family realized they would need community support to be able to fund his recovery. Jonathan and Maria are hard-working small business owners—expenses associated with an injury like Zeke’s can quickly escalate, even with insurance.
That’s why they turned to the national medical fundraising nonprofit Help Hope Live. They initiated the fundraising campaign on June 14. Within 24 hours, they had raised over $14,000 in donations. Today, less than seven days after Zeke’s injury, they are up to over $38,000 raised.
Tax-deductible donations can be made at: https://helphopelive.org/campaign/22355/ or by visiting helphopelive.org and searching for Zeke Clark in the gray Find a Campaign box.
This financial lifeline is a critical source of hope for Zeke and his family, helping with expenses that will improve Zeke’s quality of life and help the family navigate their new normal together and ensure Zeke’s long term recovery.
As mom, Maria, explained, fundraising means supporting a healthy, hopeful, and active future for their youngest son: “Zeke is such a force: he was walking at 9 months and running at 11 months. We have no doubts that he will again be doing this in due time and it’s through of the support of our community that we have the strength to persevere through this tragedy.”
“We are so thankful for the outpouring of love and support from everyone in our community—our neighbors, our church community, the nurses, surgeons, doctors, and the entire support team at the hospital.”
Unlike a GoFundMe campaign, donations to Help Hope Live are tax deductible to the extent allowed by law, and all funds raised will be managed by the nonprofit to cover verified medical and related expenses. Help Hope Live verifies medical and financial need for every patient.
Help Hope Live is a national nonprofit that specializes in engaging communities in secure, tax-deductible fundraising campaigns for people who need a transplant or are affected by a catastrophic injury or illness. Since 1983, campaigns organized by Help Hope Live have raised over $172 million to pay patient expenses. ###Written by Emily Progin