Thursday, August 31, 2017

Thank You!

Well, it's been just over three months since our son Nick lost his left leg in a freak accident. Our family has been leaning on each other and leaning on many of our friends, like no other time in our lives. How does one go about thanking literally hundreds of people for their visits, phone calls, donations, and assistance to make Nick's life as normal as possible during this life transition? Sometimes the only thing is to simply say the words, "Thank you!"

During his 17 day stay in the hospital late in May, Nick's sister Sam started a GoFundMe page, mainly as a central information spot to keep everyone informed of his status. What came from it, however, was truly humbling. To date, nearly $8000 has been donated from Nick's friends and our family's friends! All of this money is sitting safely in an account, while we assess what his immediate needs will be. Among those needs are of course a prosthetic leg, but he must wait until his residual limb is completely healed. There are many doctor and hospital bills that we are still waiting to slowly shake down to what we owe after insurance. There is also a great need for getting him a larger, more accessible vehicle for him to get to school and eventually back to work. As fate would have it, his previous car was totaled in a hail storm just weeks prior to his fall. To all the people who contributed to this fund, some of them anonymously, we say "Thank you!"

Just a week or so after getting Nick home with us, he was asked to come back into work for a staff meeting at iPie in Wheat Ridge. Nick was excited to go, as he had not seen his co-workers for quite a while. I drove him over to the meeting and quietly sat in on it. What I found in that room was an amazing group of young men and women who were truly invested not only in making their store operate more smoothly each and every day, but also invested in each other. Towards the end of the meeting, the manager (also named Nick) announced that their monthly fund raiser in August was to be a benefit for Nick! My eyes swelled up and spilled over with gratitude. They would be donating 10π%, or 31.4% of one day's earnings at the store! Not long after this announcement, a friend I just barely knew on Facebook and Twitter reached out to me and asked if he could help promote the fundraiser. Using tools at his disposal at, he created a video that quickly rose to over 13,000 views on Facebook, telling everybody how they could help Nick get back on his feet by simply eating pizza! This man's name is Jared Ewy, he is amazing and I am eternally grateful to him. With Jared's help and the power crew at iPie, they raised nearly $2000 that day! ~$1200 was raised from the pizza sales, ~$500 was raised from a cash donation/tip jar, and ~$250 came from the sales of custom pizza jewelry and key chains made by one of Nick's iPie co-workers, Quinn. To the Crouse family (iPie owners), the iPie staff, and to Jared, we offer another gigantic "Thank you!"

I must also give a big shout out to my brother-in-law, Mike Pahl, who helped with a very important project just one day before Nick was to be discharged from the hospital. Without his help installing strong new handrails on our entry stairs, Nick would have no way to get into our home. After several hours of careful measuring, cutting, and fastening, the rails were ready. Nick quickly developed the method for getting up and down the stairs using the rails and his freedom was maintained. Having the ability to leave the house and go visit with his friends whenever he wants to is real key to his well being and undying positive attitude. So to Mike we say, "Thank you!"

For everyone else not named here specifically, Nick's friends, my friends, my wife's friends, my other kids' friends, my co-workers, I want you all to know that my family and I are forever grateful to you for keeping Nick in your hearts. We couldn't get through this without you! "Thank you!"

Sunday, August 13, 2017

In the blink of an eye...

An exerpt from a previous post at

It started out on the calm evening of May 20th. I was about to go to bed. I had a busy Saturday ahead of me, helping get Nick moved to a new apartment that was closer to his school. The phone rang and it was Nick's friend Tyler. Nick had fallen while attending a concert at Red Rocks and dislocated his left knee. My wife and I are no strangers to late night ER meetups with one of our three kids, not that they're particularly clumsy or anything, it's just that shit happens. Well, what we thought would amount to a couple of months of Nick wearing a leg brace quickly and unexpectedly escalated to the possibility of him losing his leg! An artery in his knee had been severed and the next week was a vigilant effort to reestablish blood flow in his leg. In the end, all efforts failed and Nick, with us at his side, made the tough decision to amputate his leg above the knee. The procedure went well and after 17 days in the hospital, we brought our 21 year old baby boy home (Nick is the youngest, so he'll always be baby to us). So there we were at a crossroads. A quote attributed to Yogi Berra rang true at that moment, "When You Come to a Fork in the Road, Take It!" What other choice does one have, right?

Through the month of June, Nick started conquering all of the new challenges that his situation presented him with. His mobility is increasing daily, as he patiently waits to be cleared to start prosthesis, but for now he has to accept living with Mom and Dad again and start improvising how he accomplishes daily tasks. A positive attitude is what is required to get around with a walker and a wheelchair. Fortunately, positivity is Nick's biggest asset and he continues to inspire us with his fortitude everyday.