Florida Teen Diver Down - Needs Your Help

$11,267raised of $30,000 goal
37%

Organizer: The Austin Goncalves Trust Fund - Friends of Austin Goncalves Beneficiary: Austin Goncalves

Austin (15 years old) and his mom, Karen, invited a couple of friends to go on a dream vacation to the Bahamas.  Austin, being an avid fisherman and diver was in heaven!  After a few short days, the dream vacation turned into a nightmare when Austin, his mom and their guests all contracted Ciguatera Poisoning from a fish that Austin and his friend speared on an inshore reef.  

Ciguatera Fish Poisoning is a food born illness that is caused by eating fish that are contaminated with Ciguatera toxin.  Ciguatera toxin is harmless to fish but poisonous to humans.  It is ordorless, colorless, tasteless and is not affected by heat or cold (cooking and freezing will not kill it).  It causes nausea, pain, cardic and neurological symptoms (including seizures, hallucination and paralysis) in humans.  Although most symptoms resolve in a few weeks, full recovery can take six months to a year.  The toxin will always remain in the blood stream of the victims and they are subject to future relapse. 

All four people (Austin, his mom and their friends) were rushed via ambulance to a Bahamian Hospital and eventually airlifted to Miami in order to save their lives.  The medical evacuation flights cost $10,000.00 per person.  Austin and his mom incurred $20,000.00 in medical cost on those flights alone.  

Austin's case of Ciguatera was extreme.  He suffered the worst of the Ciguatera Poisoning symptoms.  He spent a week on life support in the ICU at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami (4 hours from his home).  He was then moved to a private room for several days.  He is now in a rehabilitative center in Miami.  The family hopes that they will be able to bring him to a children's hospital closer to home soon.  He is expected to need 2 weeks of rehabilitative care before he is released.  

Karen, Austin's mom, was also airlifted to Miami and spent several days in the hospital there.  Once she was released, she immediately went to Austin and has been at his side day in and day out.  Karen is still suffering from symptoms of Ciguatera.  Karen is unsure when she will be able to return to work.  

After a recent visit with Austin in his hospital room, his friends realized the dire situation that this family was in.  They wished to support them in any way they could.  After spending a few days discussing how best to help, they decided to start this fundraiser and try to raise as much money as they could to hep this struggling family pay medical bills and cover the cost of Austin's extended stay in the Miami hospital.    

Austin and Karen have a long and expensive road to recovery ahead of them.  Ciguatera will always be a part of their life now.  No one can change that.  However, you can help ease the financial stress of the ever mounting medical expenses.  Any amount of donation would be helpful and would be appreciated by this family.  

Updates

Updates

08/19/2014
by The Austin Goncalves Trust Fund - Friends of Austin Goncalves
School started this week, and Austin was there with his freshman class.  Unfortunately, Austin did not get much of a summer as he spent nearly a month in the hospital.  However, Austin was excited to start high school.  Austin has come a long way since the first of July.  His doctor's visits are spacing out and he hasn't had an emergency room visit in a while.  Austin is learning to manage his symptoms.   He is starting to figure out what foods cause issues and how to keep hydrated to prevent reoccurrence of his seizures.  He is has learned to detect the warning signs that he is about to have an episode and he is starting to pay mind and take it easy until the feeling passes.  Slowing down is his biggest challenge now.   He wants to resume his normal activities but is finding that his condition has necessitated a new normal.   For now anyway.  If Austin has his way, it won't be for long.  He is a determined young man!
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08/03/2014
by The Austin Goncalves Trust Fund - Friends of Austin Goncalves
A message from Karen Goncalves (Austin's mom who also contracted Ciguatera):

Dear Friends, Family and Supporters:

I always knew that I had incredible family and friends.  However, this journey has reinforced that knowledge.  But what has surprised me the most are the many generous people that we do not know who have sent prayers and donations.  It fills my heart to know that there are so many great, kind, loving people out there.  

Most of the time, we only hear about bad news and stories of disasters.  However, our story is a story of incredible miracles and timing. It was through those miracles and incredible timing every day during our ordeal that brought us home.  

Austin, our family and I want to thank every one of you from the bottom of our hearts.  During this difficult situation, friends have become family.  I now have a huge family!  I love every one of you.  

Thank you, all.

Karen Goncalves. 
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08/02/2014
by The Austin Goncalves Trust Fund - Friends of Austin Goncalves
BENEFIT HAPPENING NOW!  Come down to Bridge Street in Bradenton Beach and join us!!! Lots of awesome silent auction items and raffle prizes!  Live music!  Food!  Beer!  Wine!   Why aren't you here?!?!?  

Specially designed T-shirts for sale!  pic in the gallery.  If you can't make it today and want to order one, send me an email!  They are $20.
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08/02/2014
by The Austin Goncalves Trust Fund - Friends of Austin Goncalves
BENEFIT HAPPENING NOW!  Come down to Bridge Street in Bradenton Beach and join us!!! Lots of awesome silent auction items and raffle prizes!  Live music!  Food!  Beer!  Wine!   Why aren't you here?!?!?  

Specially designed T-shirts for sale!  pic in the gallery.  If you can't make it today and want to order one, send me an email!  They are $20.
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07/31/2014
by The Austin Goncalves Trust Fund - Friends of Austin Goncalves
CORRECTION:  Please note the following correction for the benefit to be held on Saturday, August 2, 2014.

The Benefit will be from 10AM to 4PM.  However, the last cards for the Poker Run must be picked up by 2PM.  

I will post a picuture of the flyer that will have all the details. 
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07/30/2014
by The Austin Goncalves Trust Fund - Friends of Austin Goncalves
July 30, 2014

Austin is on the road to recovery.  He has good days and bad days.  However, the good days are coming more frequently.  He is looking more like himself and is anxious to get back to the business of being a 15 year old boy.  Today, he was able to spend some time with his friends hanging out on the beach, telling stories and pulling pranks.  He still gets fatigued easily and the tremors are still present, but he seems to be gaining strength and endurance.  He is beginning to understand that following doctors orders will be the quickest way to heal and get back to "normal" life again.  One thing is for sure, the disease has not infected Austin's sense of humor or his beautiful smile.  Even when sharing some of the scariest moments of this experience, Austin finds a way to work in a joke and flash a quick smile.  With his positive attitude and his typical teenage boy desire to be active, I don't think Ciguatera stand a chance at keeping this boy down for long!

Just a reminder:  The benefit for Austin will be this Saturday, August 2 from 10-2 starting at the Blue Marlin restaurant on Bridge Streeet in Bradenton Beach.  If you are local or in the area, please stop by to support this effort.  I understand that this will be an awesome event.  Live music, raffles, silent auction, 50/50 drawings, Poker Run and just lots of good fun!  The raffle and auction consist of all kinds of exciting things donated by local business: art, hotel stays, fishing charters, dive equipment, fishing equipment, gift certificates to local restuarants, gift certificates to local business and much more.  Don't Miss it!

Austin's mom, Karen asked me to again thank everyone for their thoughts, prayers and donations.  Your support is greatly appreciated and has been so amazing. The love and support has flowed from near and far, even from strangers.   Austin and his family read the supporters' messages and have been overwhelmed by the love they have found there. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!


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07/19/2014
by The Austin Goncalves Trust Fund - Friends of Austin Goncalves
Another way to contribute....

A medical trust savings account has been opened at SunTrust Bank.  If you would prefer, you can walk into any SunTrust location and deposit your donation into this account.  Just tell the teller that you want to deposit the money into the "Austin Goncalves Trust Fund" account.  

Please spread the word!   Thanks for your continued support.
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07/18/2014
by The Austin Goncalves Trust Fund - Friends of Austin Goncalves
Austin is home!  After almost three weeks in the hospital, Austin has been released and is finally home.  He exceeded the doctors expectations and his mom worked out a treatment plan that would bring him home to finish his recovery.  Austin will be treated by a local neurologist and will receive out patient physical therapy locally.  He and his family are excited to be home.  They also wish to thank you all for your prayers and good thoughts.    

With your continued support, this family can focus on getting well. Although Karen and Austin are recovering, their financial need is still great.  Please continue to pray for this family and let others know of their need.  Thank you.


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07/17/2014
by The Austin Goncalves Trust Fund - Friends of Austin Goncalves
We wanted to take a moment to thank everyone who has contributed so far!  Your support means the world to this family.  Just knowing that there are kind and generous people out there makes my day!  

The local news has been covering Austin's story.... Keep an eye out for interviews and information!
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07/16/2014
by The Austin Goncalves Trust Fund - Friends of Austin Goncalves
For all those local to Bradenton:  There will be a boat poker run fundraiser on August 2, 2014 from 10AM until 2PM.  The benefit will start at the Blue Marlin located at 121 Bridge Street, Bradenton Beach, FL. The participating business are: The Blue Marlin, The Drift In, The Bridge Tender Inn, Mar Vista and The Swordfish Grill. The cost of the cards is $20 per card and the cards must be turned in by 3PM to recieve credit. Cars can be used if the weather prohibits boating.  There will also be entertainment, food, raffle prizes and a 50/50 drawing.   We would love to see you there!!!
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