Editor's note: Andrew Gritzmaker, executive director of Mad Anthonys Children's Hope House, will leave Saturday on a 4,200-mile bike tour from Oregon to Virginia. His goal is to raise awareness for the mission of Hope House and to provide better insight into what families experience in a medical crisis.
This is the first of a weekly series of profiles of families served. Gritzmaker's goal is to finish the race in 30 days and to raise $25,000 for the Hope House. He has raised about $22,000 so far.
Follow his progress competing in the Trans Am Bike Race on The Journal Gazette's Facebook page or at transambikerace.com or on his individual link at http://trackleaders.com/transam18i.php?name=Andrew_Gritzmaker. Learn more about his quest at www.childrenshopefw.org.
On June 14, 2017, 14-year-old Max Fulton collided with a truck traveling 50 mph while on his ATV. He suffered a shattered femur, broken pelvis and lacerated spleen. He received five units of blood and spent 24 days at Lutheran Hospital. Even from the safety of his hospital bed, Max developed a blood clot in his leg and lung that threatened his life. But he survived – he survived it all.
Since that date, Max, whose family lives in Miami County, has undergone four surgeries and continues to rehabilitate with physical therapy three times each week. During his inpatient hospital stay, his parents, Dave and Laura, were guests at the Mad Anthonys Children's Hope House.
Dave and Laura took turns each night staying in Max's hospital room to make sure he was never alone. The other parent was able to rest.
Laura shared these thoughts: “Our traumatic and grueling 24 days was made a bit brighter by our experience with the Hope House. We could focus on Max's care instead of worrying about where we might sleep that night. Hope House gave us a quiet place to lay our heads, do laundry and get a shower. We were over an hour away from our home, so it was a godsend to have the Hope House right on campus. The staff was so friendly and accommodating.
“It really is amazing that that facility is made possible by the generosity of others who don't even know us. That is the true definition of graciousness and benevolence.”
– Andrew Gritzmaker