'Help Luke Break Free From His Traumatic Brain Injury'

For: Luke Simpson and Family
Organizer: Team Luke Simpson (Andrew, Ann, Cindy, Ellen, Josh, Regan, Sarah, Tim, and others)
'Help Luke Break Free From His Traumatic Brain Injury' (Luke Simpson and Family)
of $300,000 goal.
Raised by 670 donors
100% Complete
This fundraiser is closed. Thank you for your support!

The Story

Luke Simpson is pretty awesome.

A strong, smart, energetic, generous, and witty guy who loves music, laughter, and new experiences. Loving father of two, husband, son, brother, uncle, friend. Enthusiastic biker, skier, hiker, snowmachiner, surfer, climber. An incredibly hard worker, bread-winner and generous soul. The kind of guy who is easy to like and is loved by many.

But something pretty awful happened to him.

On November 4, 2013, Luke was in a serious mountain biking accident at Kincaid Park in Anchorage, Alaska. Due to the extraordinary efforts of his friends, Luke’s life was saved. Unfortunately, he sustained significant head injuries that led to a massive stroke in his brain stem. The stroke cut off neural connections between his brain and body and left him completely immobilized and without the ability to hear or speak.  For now, Luke communicates by reading messages and responding with blinks or up and down eye gazes. He is doing well cognitively and has regained some motor function since beginning therapy, but it is still unknown how fully he might recover.

YOU can help in a BIG way.

To give him the best possible chance at healing, Luke needs intensive rehabilitation in a hospital specializing in traumatic brain injuries. To his family's relief, he was approved for admission to Craig Hospital in Denver--an excellent facility that is widely acclaimed for its specialized treatment of TBI patients, with high success rates.

Luke needs more time at this facility than his insurance company will pay for. The hospital requires a three-month committment, and the insurance company will only pay for one month. This means the Simpson family must pay for the remaining two months out-of-pocket--at a cost of $180,000! Luke’s friends are working to raise these funds, plus other significant out-of-pocket costs associated with his injury and care (such as adaptive equipment, a wheelchair accessible van, and necessary home renovations for accessibility). 

Based on information we have gathered from medical experts and Luke's insurance company, we believe that in order to give Luke the very best chance at recovery and quality of life, we need to raise a great deal more than our initial goal of $75,000. We've set our new goal at $300,000. This is a steep number, but we know that if we apply the same dogged determination we have always admired in Luke, we will get there. Luke has put a lot of good out into the world, and he has a lot of good coming to him in return. 

If you have already given to Luke's medical fund, THANK YOU. If you have not yet had a chance, we appreciate any amount you are able to donate. Every little bit helps us get closer to our goal. Please help us spread the word to people who would like to support Luke and his family.

- Team Luke Simpson (Andrew Steiner, Ann Loyd, Cindy Bierne, Ellen Campfield Nelson, Josh DeLong, Regan Brooks, Sarah Monkton, Tim Alderson, and all the other friends and family who've pitched in)

Following is the medical account information for those who prefer to wire funds or send a check. We will include your donation information on this site along with the people who donated online, unless you indicate that you wish to make an anonymous donation or hide the donation amount. If mailing checks please include all of the account information to ensure that it will be deposited correctly. Thank you!

POB 196613
Anchorage, AK 99519

Name: Kristin Simpson
Acct#:  1100018061196

(To wire, routing no. is 325272021)

Fundraiser Updates

Posted on November 17, 2014

Posted on November 17, 2014


Hello everyone,

As many of you know, Luke, Kris and the family are finally back in Alaska for good. Hooray!

During his time in California Luke continued his intensive therapy and made some more progress. Kris says he is balancing in a sitting position for a little longer, and his head and trunk control seem to have improved a bit. He is still working on voicing "ha" and "mm", he is doing pretty well with the "ha"s. He is also moving his arms a bit more. His left shoulder and arm are getting stronger, he has a little bit larger range, and can lift his elbow off the tray when his fingers are hooked over the edge. He also can pull his right arm off the wheelchair tray by sliding his elbow backward if he wants to.

Luke drove a power wheelchair in therapy in California. Kris sent a video of it and it was pretty cool to see.  He uses two switches- one on his thumb to start and stop, and one on back of head to turn. Insurance has not approved the new equipment yet, so Kris is hoping they can order the equipment and complete the modifications in Anchorage.

Progress has been made on the house, too. In September the elevator foundation and walls were done. There have been some issues with finishing the elevator but hopefully it will all be done soon. The garage foundation was dug this fall and now the garage is close to completion. The bathroom has also been framed. Kris sends out a special thank you to everyone who has helped with the house. What a huge support you have been.

Luke's new email address is [email protected] Feel free to email him, and expect very short answers back, if any. He doesn't always spend a lot of time on the Tobii (especially when he's into football), and "typing" his responses can be a challenge for him depending on how his eyesight is doing. But e-mails from friends and family are greatly appreciated nevertheless.

Now that Luke is home, he will begin outpatient therapy in Anchorage. He has a couple of appointments this week to get him set up for that. We are looking forward to seeing Luke continue his progress here in Alaska.

We are so happy to have the Simpsons home in Alaska and are look forward to spending lots of time with them....Last night was the first of what will be many regular gatherings. Kris and our girlfriends gathered at my house for wine and fireside conversation, while Luke and the guys hung out at Jon's for...whiskey. I wasn't there but I'm guessing it was less civilized than our evening.

Thanks to everyone for your continued support of the Simpson family. If you're in Alaska, please check out the planner and sign up to visit Luke whenever you can. One thing to note--if you are seeing sign-up times going from 1pm-11pm, then you have your settings set for the wrong time zone.
Sign-up times are from 10am-8pm. Just open up one of the tasks and change the setting to "Alaska time" and you will be all fixed up.

Oh--and check out the new photos. There is one of Will and Kate on the first day of school and a couple of Luke and his buddies on a hike in the Chugach early this fall.

Best wishes to everyone for a happy and healthy season.

- Sarah

Posted on August 25, 2014

Posted on August 25, 2014


Hi all, 

Luke, Kris, and the kids are back in Alaska for the time being and it has been wonderful to see them all. Will has started school, and both he and Kate have picked right up with their old friends. I think it has been good for them to be back home. 

It has also been good for us to see the Simpson family again. It was wonderful to have them at a gathering of friends last night. The kids ran around as usual, having dance-offs and water balloon fights. The grown-ups took turns chatting with Luke, making sure he has a view of the kids and even taking him out to sit by the fire for a bit. 

There have been big improvements in communication since Luke left Alaska. Then, communication was very difficult because we had to interpret his eye movements as we moved our fingers along the letter board. This took a lot of concentration, requiring us to watch the letter board and his eye movements at the same time. It was pretty easy to make mistakes and we wound up with some wacky spellings and sentences. But now Luke has a buzzer that makes communicating with him so much easier and faster (We also have an iPad to type messages on, rather than relying on our bad handwriting on a dry erase board). As we point to letters on the letter board, he uses his fingers to press on a buzzer when he wants to select a letter. Once you get used to this system, communication can move along relatively quickly. He can also buzz once for yes, and two for no, and lots of buzzing means he has something to say. Unsurprisingly, much of the time he wants to joke around. When we helpfully asked him if he needed anything, he replied, "beer." Some of the other jokes he made are not appropriate for a general audience. You will just have to visit him yourself to enjoy his salty sense of humor. :)

In other news, Luke has a ton of new (little) movements. He can move his fingers on his right hand in a grasping motion, both legs a little, and left arm has additional directions of movement. Luke is getting more head and trunk control-- he is able to keep his head up (most of the time) while therapists help him walk or stand, and he can pull himself forward folding torso toward legs in a sitting position, also a little side to side. 

Luke has nerve pain in his left arm and both feet now. Hopefully this means the nerves are reconnecting and will eventually lead to additional deliberate movement. He is also regaining some sensation in his left arm and hand.

Kris has been hearing more of Luke's voice lately, and he has been working with speech therapists on voicing "ha". He can voice "ha" sometimes on his own, but not every time. The Tobii is reasonably set up, and Luke has been starting to email a little. He really wants and needs interaction with the outside world so if you have time, please send him a [email protected] This is his personal email and he is set up to check it and respond to it himself. The Tobii system still does some funny things with capitalization and punctuation, so if you send him an email and his reply looks weird, no worries. They just haven't had time to sort all that out yet.

Luke and Kris are going back to California in about a week to finish up Luke's intensive therapy at Casa Colina. The kids will stay in school here in Alaska, and their parents will return once Luke is ready to move back here permanently. It should be just a few weeks. Meanwhile, the house will be completed to make it easier for him to live at home. They have the building permit for the house, and hopefully it will be well underway soon. 

Thanks to everyone for your continued support of Luke and his family.  

- Sarah

Posted on August 25, 2014

Posted on August 25, 2014

July 29, 2014

Here is Kris' latest update.  Hopefully Luke will get approved for more days in the intensive therapy program in California  but it it will be wonderful to welcome the Simpson family home!

~ Ann

Hi all,

Both of Luke's arms are moving a bit more, although the left more than the right. The left is strong enough to slide across his tray toward his body, and the right needs to be positioned to move a little- see photo below; Luke's therapist is helping him write his name. Luke's been working on sitting balance, and PR is now up to 2 minutes.

Tobii is here, and I am working on setting it up for him. Still don't have the positioning system that attaches it to his chair though.

House Ear Clinic tuned Luke's cochlear implant, and it seems the nerve fatigue is improving somewhat. Their doctor recommended waiting a year or two before doing the second ear, as the dr thought we did the best one first.

Our garage is gone! Hoping to put it all back together soon. Thank you to everyone who is helping!

We have plane tickets to come home... August 17.Luke and I really want to be home for the kids' first days of school. Our plan is to see if our insurance company continues to pay for intensive therapy here, and if so, Luke and I plan to return to CA Labor Day weekend. Kids will stay in AK with my parents for school. We are all looking forward to coming home, and I think it will help Luke to see friends.

Thanks everyone & see you soon! 

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