Levi Blackburn was 18 years old in February 2021. He had just graduated from high school and was going on a ski trip to Banff with a friend when his life literally turned upside down.
Levy’s mother, Crystal Blackburn, explained: “They hit the black ice and then when they hit the dry pavement, the car lost control and fell into the ditch five times.
“The whole weight of the car went to his head.”
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Levy was brutally injured and taken to hospital by Stars Air Ambulance, but the prognosis was serious.
“The surgeons brought us all to the family room and basically said he was going to die tonight,” Crystal explained as he began to cry.
“It’s not something a parent would ever want to hear. It was the worst moment of our lives. ”
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Family and friends gathered around Blackburn in the hospital parking lot, unable to get inside due to COVID protocol.
There they prayed, listened to positive music, and hoped for a miracle.
Levi survived that night and the next and the next. On the third day, Crystal said that doctors had changed Levi’s care protocol.
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“Okay, instead of taking care of comfort – because that’s what they were doing, making him comfortable until he died – instead, they changed everything and said, ‘We’re going to give him the best shot we can, because we don’t know what the consequences will be.” It’s going to happen, but he’s showing us that he wants to live. ‘
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The vision went dark. Doctors have spoken to the family about Levy’s standard of living.
“Because of the severity of his injuries, they said he was likely to be in an endless vegetarian state for the rest of his life,” Crystal said.
But Levi’s parents said they were not ready to give up: their son loves life.
Three months later, he was released from the hospital. That’s when, in a familiar environment, the levy slowly began to improve.
Her family has taught her to breathe again, a speech pathologist is helping her communicate, and instructors at the ReYu Paralysis Recovery Center are helping her regain motor function.
“He’s come a long way, where he’s starting to move a lot further away from himself, which is really exciting,” explains Brooklyn Jenzen, a neuro exercise specialist.
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Levi goes to ReYu twice a week and likes it. This week, he even rode an adaptive bike.
“It’s basically re-learning and re-learning how to move his muscles, because unfortunately his muscles and brain are somewhat disconnected during his injury.”
Crystal said Levy would come more often, but the government is not covering the cost of his training and now it is a huge effort to get the 19-year-old in and out of the family car. It is not wheelchair friendly. Crystal and Levi’s twin sisters have to physically carry her in and out for each trip.
But every week they see progress. Levi is adamant he wants to walk again. At the moment he is walking with help, far from being in a vegetable state.
“We’re really grateful she was released and thank those who worked hard for her release, and we’re glad she’s alive,” said Crystal.
A GoFundM was launched for Blackburn to help pay for Levi’s care.
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