MANTON — Brian Adams and his father Rob weren’t asking for much, just a run-of-the-mill miracle.
Almost three years after an explosion occurred at a Manton motel, causing severe burns to more than 85% of Brian’s body, the 16-year-old still has a long road of recovery in front of him, and one of the biggest obstacles to that recovery has been removing the trach tube that is currently helping him to breathe.
About a year ago, Brian was scheduled to have the tube removed, which would have given him more freedom in his day-to-day activities and reprieved his father from having to constantly maintain the apparatus. Rob is the only person in the household who knows how to clean and manage Brian’s trach tube.
Rob said the majority of Brian’s operations are more or less covered by insurance or through the Shriners Hospital for Children in Boston, Massachusetts.
Some complications arose, however, as the procedure to remove the tube wasn’t covered by insurance here in Michigan, and at the Shriners, they didn’t have the expertise to perform it. The only procedure covered here in Michigan was one that carried with it a significant chance of Brian losing his ability to speak
To cover the cost of paying for an alternate procedure — one that carries less risk of causing Brian to lose his voice — Rob appealed to the insurance companies and began raising money on his own through a Gofundme account.
The procedure is estimated to cost around $150,000, and even with the surgeons and staff waiving all of the fees to reduce the amount of the bill, the cost would be prohibitive without help.
“It was feeling like I was going to fail him and that was killing me inside,‘ Rob told the Cadillac News.
In November, the Cadillac News reported on Brian’s predicament, and within a matter of days, more than 3,000 people stepped forward with donations to pay for the surgery. In the span of about a week, the Gofundme account had amassed enough donations to pay for the surgery, and then some.
Hundreds of donors have left heart-felt and encouraging messages on Brian’s Gofundme page: “I donate because I have children, and this is devastating. I couldn’t even imagine having something like this happening to one of my children. I pray for you and your family,‘ wrote one person. “My son in law asked that we donate in lieu of buying him a gift for Christmas. He has met this boy and hopes from the bottom of his heart that this boy keeps his voice,‘ wrote another.
“I’m in absolute shock, to be honest,‘ Rob said. “This has been absolutely the most beautiful thing I’ve ever witnessed ... God is good.‘
Brian was just as surprised as his father.
“There’s honestly not words to describe it,‘ Brian said. “I’m so beyond grateful for all the love and support I’ve received.‘
Brian and Rob were in Boston on Monday for surgery to repair a part of Brian’s lip. Brian said he was in a considerable amount of pain after the procedure but so excited about reaching the goal, he couldn’t sleep.
“I honestly had no hope for a long time,‘ Brian said.
Now that the surgery can be covered, Rob said he’s in the process of going through the labyrinth of phone calls and paperwork associated with scheduling an operation date for Brian.
“I’m trying to get the date ASAP,‘ he said.
Money left over after the operation will be used to buy medications that insurance doesn’t cover, help with transportation costs going to and from Boston, and for other costs associated with being hospitalized for several weeks.
For regular updates on how Brian is doing, check out “recovery4brian‘ on Facebook.