Kevin's diving accident has left him paralyzed from the shoulders down. He now desperately needs a wheelchair accesible vehicle
Abe Lukens is one of the most caring in the world. He would give a friend or a stranger anything he could possibly give that they would need. He’s been known to give people his car, his last dollar, his shifts at work, his time, his love....etc. Anything you needed, Abe would be there.
Almost three years ago Abe's sister suggested for him to move to Texas to better himself. Since moving, Abe has found friends closer than family with his co-workers from Chilis, and the Houston gaming community. For recreation, Abe enjoys playing competition fighting games and playing volleyball with the Chilis team. For the last couple years that Abe has been working at Chilis he has been participating in their sand volleyball games they play every Thursday.
Thursday August 22nd 2013 was gearing up to be a great afternoon. A lot of people were showing up at the Hidden Lakes apartment complex for their weekly volleyball game. The game was going well, a lot of fun as usual. Abe had played a couple rotations and was currently waiting to be rotated back in when a block from one of the players sent the ball flying into the lake. Seeing that the water looked to be some feet deep, Abe volunteered to dive in and get the ball.......Abe dove into 11 inches of water.
"I knew immediately that I was paralyzed because I couldn't move. I knew that all I could do was stay calm and hold my breath. I can thank all my years of Karate for giving me the state of mind to keep calm and not panic. The first two people to rescue me were Darin and Taylor. Taylor, being a physical trainer, knew to keep my neck and back straight as they got me out of the water. I was completely conscience the entire time. The medics came and took me to the ambulance which took me to the PHI Air Medical helicopter waiting at the main entrance to the apartments."
Abe has broken his C3, C4, C5, C6, and C7 vertebrae. He had surgery in which to put two stabilizing rods in both sides of his neck and bring the vertebrae out from against his spinal cord. The spinal cord itself was not severed but had a small bone fragment lodged inside and is badly bruised. He had another surgery a week later to install a filter to prevent blood clots.
Abe is currently paralyzed from the shoulders down. He is slowly getting some feeling back in his arms and a few fingers and some movement in his biceps. The doctors won't give a prognosis on what's to come for another 5 months. He has been in great spirits considering his position. He is determined to do all that he can to get his body back. To be a very active young man playing volleyball, a server/dishwasher, black belt in Karate, a competition gamer, and to suddenly have all that taken away from you is completely devastating.
Abe's sister Ama was working on contract for Alaskan Dream Cruises out of Sitka when she got the message that her brother was sent by life flight to UTMB Galveston Hospital. Her company was very supportive in getting her home as quickly as possible. Since she has been home in Texas, she has been doing everything in her power to ensure that her brother is getting the best care that he can get. She has taken over as his Power of Attorney and is working on finding him the best rehabilitation home that she can. "I want what's best for my baby brother. I believe that he's determined and stubborn enough to pull through this to the best of his ability. I am hoping that his Medicaid will go through quickly so the moment he is released from the hospital he can be placed in a 24hr rehabilitation center." Ama is also working with their Grandfather Don Foley to find them a house and a vehicle that will be wheel chair accessible. "It's been really hard trying to find time to do everything that needs to be done and still spend as much time at the hospital as I can. Abe and I have been having sleepovers and watching movies together."
Abe's mother Carolina McSharey and Grandfather Don Foley (Carolina's father) flew down immediately from California when they heard the news. Carolina, who works at McDonald's and Taco Bell in Colfax California has been spending night and day by Abe's side. "I don't want him to ever feel that he is alone. I want him to know that there will always be someone there for him." Carolina's jobs in California have been supportive by organizing bake sales and taking donations to help Carolina while she is down in Texas taking care of her son. "I always felt that God wanted me to move to Texas eventually, I just never imagined it would be because my son got hurt. I was thinking grand babies and being closer to my children to help them when that time came." Carolina is planning on fully moving to Texas once her son gets into a rehabilitation center.
Abe's friends and co-workers from Chilis have been an amazing support group to him and his family. The day the accident happened, Abe had 10+ people in the ICU waiting room anxiously waiting to be able to go in and see him. They ALL stayed waiting until the early hours of the morning when the nurses allowed them to rotate taking turns to see him even though it was after (or before) visiting hours. Everyone at Chilis has been very supportive by bringing food, coming to see him, calling, donating money, and trying to raise money to help him. Even customers from Chilis have come down to spend time with Abe and share a few laughs. “It’s a rare day when Abe doesn’t have any visitors,” says Ama, “I think the only day he hasn’t had someone come visit was a day that he wasn’t feeling well enough to.” Abe’s manager Kara is giving Abe a wheel chair lift for whatever vehicle they find and has been diligently working on trying to get Abe into Chili’s Brinker Family Fund to help out with current and future unexpected expenses.
Abe’s longtime friend from 3rd grade, Jake Rice and his friend Luke, heard about Abe’s accident and immediately drove out from California. They made it to the hospital in a record 27 hours and spent a couple days with Abe before heading back across the country to go back to work. Abe’s father Reed Lukens drove down from California for a couple days as well.
Abe’s Mother Carolina says “It’s so heart-warming to see how many people care so deeply for Abe. His ‘Texas Family’ definitely has gone to great measures to help us out with housing, food, laundry….the list goes on and on.”
Abe has been in good spirits despite everything that he is going through. “I just really hope that I can at least get my arms back. If you have your arms you can do anything.”
The money from this fundraiser will go to help Abe and his family during his very long recovery. Their most immediate needs are a motorized wheel chair, a vehicle equipped for a wheel chair, a down payment for wheel chair accessible house and funds to make modifications to the house and vehicle. Other expenses they will be facing are the bills for the life flight, ambulance and hospital bills, attorney fees, medications, in-home care and many other unforeseen expenses. Anything that you can donate to Abe and his family will help tremendously.