|A Ride for the Running Man|
|Written by Steve Frank|
|Friday, 13 June 2014 08:52|
It was August 24th, 2013 the life of Jay Erwin almost ended, a tree he was cutting over his neighborhood road got hung, then kicked back, slamming Jay in the chest, pinning him into another tree. Erwin’s son, Sam, first struggled to free his father, then took on the task—the first of several—
to save his life with CPR, according to family friend, Tom Van Gilder, “Sam called 911 and, although he never had any training, did CPR on his father until the medics arrived - saving his life. They flew him by helicopter to Johnson City Medical Center.” During the flight, Jay almost died two more times. He survived the harrowing ordeal, but the passionate runner was paralyzed from the chest down, and would never walk again. Jay Erwin spent 100 days at the Shepherd Center in Atlanta in grueling rehab, and returned to Boone and his family right before Christmas, and since, he and his family are dealing with their new reality in a number of positive ways—Jay returned to work, now back full-time at Blue Ridge Energies, and he has started a Facebook Faith page now with over 700 members, a new Run, Roll, Walk club, and a Spinal Cord Injury support group – all to encourage people to keep the faith, and to always strive to never give up and stay strong. But his friends are coming together to try to help further. Van Gilder said Jay was entered in a national mobility awareness contest trying to win one of four handicapped accessible vans. He said, “The community really came together, and Jay finished 2nd in the nation with the most votes. Unfortunately, the judges did not pick Jay as one of the winners. Rather than be bitter, Jay said that he knew there were a lot of deserving people out there, and that he would try again next year. That's just Jay - always Mr. Positive!” So friends, including Van Gilder and Kinney Baughman stepped in and stepped up, starting a GoFundMe site for Jay, a site that raised nearly $20,000 in a week. But that’s still a ways away from reaching the funds needed for a handicapped accessible van, “These vans, decked out, one that he can slide the seat back and get into and then slide back to where he could actually drive with hand controls, which he would be able to do—$58,000—so we’re good piece away from getting there.” Both Van Gilder and Baughman praised Jay’s wife Lisa for her strength, “His wife Lisa struggles to get Jay in and out of their Subaru on a slide board. Jay is a six foot four man and weighs over 200 pounds, and it is a lot of work for her to get him around. She has been an incredible source of strength for him through this entire ordeal, and has hardly left his side since the tragic accident occurred.” Unable to pursue his passion of running, Baughman said that Erwin is still a great motivator, and Jay Erwin now wheels his way in 5K events—the first to do so locally.
So to help, the fundraising site is www.gofundme.com/jayerwin, and there’s an account at the State Employees' Credit Union, the "Jay and Lisa Erwin Medical Fund," but friends are looking for more ways to help—and even ideas. How can you help?
1). Financial support through the website or the State Employees Credit Union.
2), Other fundraising events will be announced soon. Please consider attending the events. Consider donating items for silent auctions and raffle items for these events.
3). Collect donations at your location - start a, "spare change to make a change" jar at work and at home. Take the coins to the credit union for the Jay and Lisa Erwin Medical fund.
4). Tell your family, friends, and co-workers about Jay and Lisa and get them behind this worthy cause too.
5). Continue your prayers for Jay and Lisa. They have so much to deal with due to this tragic event.
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