After my nephew, Jude Hill, became a double amputee following a lawn mower accident, his parents, Greg and Jen, were struggling to picture what their new life would look like. Jude was three and a half at the time, the third child of four, with a baby sister on the way. The first twenty-eight days following the accident were spent in the PICU at Children’s Hospital of Illinois. Greg, Jen, Jude and newborn Kate returned home together, not sure what to expect. Jude’s early days back at home revolved around painful dressing changes, phantom pains, and everyone trying to cope with the trauma in their own way. Greg and Jen, with all their faith in Him, lead their family through the ups and downs of grief.
Now, three years later, Team Hill is constantly adjusting to their “new normal”. They are riding the waves that come with six kids while working together to meet Jude’s specific needs. Jude will turn seven on November 5 and he is growing quickly. This growth can be painful and he has also developed boney overgrowth. In December he will undergo surgery to remove his left fibular head and transfer it to his left tibia.
Due to the surgery, there will be an influx of both doctors’ appointments and trips to Chicago to see Jude’s prosthetist. The Chicago trips have been, and will continue to be, a regular occurrence as Jude’s prosthetic needs continue to evolve. Coordinating the trips is a daunting task that Jen has mastered, but unfortunately, their minivan is breaking down. The problems have become too numerous and have rendered the van unsafe for even short distances.
They would benefit most from a bigger van so they can travel as a family and still have room for Jude’s wheelchair, which will be particularly important during his recovery. A safe vehicle will also make it possible for Jude to continue competing in the Endeavor Games and to attend events with the Challenged Athlete’s Foundation. As a single-income family with ever-growing medical bills this is not an expense that Greg and Jen can afford to take on. A new, bigger, and dependable van will help Team Hill continue to face their new normal head on. To get them there, we hope to raise the money during the month of November so that they can have the van before Jude’s surgery in December.
To read more about Team Hill’s story from Jen’s perspective, you can visit: https://adifficultbetter.com/ or https://messymom.com/2017/10/inspiring-mom-006-jen-hill/