KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) — A devastating accident has left one West Michigan man paralyzed — and for his family, it’s the second tragedy of its kind.
Adam Chaffee, of Three Rivers, fractured his spine last weekend in a swimming accident.
“I was in complete disbelief,” his brother, Matt, told 24 Hour News 8 Saturday.
Matt is also paralyzed. His spinal cord was severed in a motorcycle accident in November.
“For him to get another spinal cord injury after I just got one — It didn’t even seem possible,” Matt said.
After that first accident, it was Adam who supported Matt.
“The first thing he did was built me a ramp, so I could get out on my own. He would always take me to all my doctor appointments, all my therapy appointments. When we couldn’t get into places, he would pick me up on his back and bring me in and then bring my chair in,” said Matt.
But now, the roles are reversed. It’s Matt who sits bedside in the hospital, as Adam battles to recover.
“He’s had good days and bad days,” Matt said about Adam. “That’s been the biggest challenge is getting him to breathe on his own. Because getting him off that ventilator is what’s going to allow him to leave the hospital.”
The family is no stranger to adversity. The brothers lost their father to a heart attack a few years ago.
And while there is a long road ahead — the family isn’t facing it alone. A GoFundMe page has raised nearly $50,000 in just a few days.
“It’s awesome. People that we’ve never met before — they can just relate to our situation. It must have touched their lives,” said Matt.
And despite all that the family has faced, the brothers aren’t feeling sorry for themselves.
“We know that there is going to be a cure for paralysis in the future, and we’re going to work as hard as we can and do as much as we can until then.”
Adam is currently recovering in the trauma care unit at Bronson Methodist Hospital in Kalamazoo.
Matt and Adam also have two sisters. The tragedy has been very difficult on them and their mother.
If you’d link to help the family, here is a link to their GoFundMe page.