Let's Bring Jim Home

For: Jim Harris aka Perpetual Weekend
Park City, UT
Organizer: Kyle Harris
Let's Bring Jim Home (Jim Harris aka Perpetual Weekend)
of $100,000 goal
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Raised by 1241 donors
This fundraiser is closed. Thank you for your support!

The Story

Jim Harris suffered spinal and cranial trauma from an accident while preparing for a Trans-Patagonia expedition in Punta Arenas, Chile. He is in serious condition but stable.  Jim's expedition partners have remained by his side .  A medical evacuation will take place in the coming days to bring Jim home to the states for surgery and rehabilitation. 

The donations made will be put directly towards Jim's medical costs: first and foremost his surgery and rehabilitation.  (We will update when we know more.)

Let's bring Jim home and get him the best care possible so he can return to the mountains he loves so dearly.  

For those that do not know Jim: After instructing wilderness mountaineering courses for seven years, Jim was hired for a photo shoot in 2011. Since then, he’s written about and photographed expeditions for National Geographic, Powder, Backpacker, Men’s Journal, and others. He’s found a niche shooting Type II Fun and wilderness trips in places like Mongolia, Bolivia, and Antarctica but loves tromping around his home mountains in Utah.

Community Love:
"One of the nicest and most caring people I've ever had the opportunity to adventure with." - Nick C.

"My Instagram will be downright intolerable without your pictures and stories." -Justin S.

"Jim is one of my idols and a really amazing, positive, friendly all around good dude." - Andrew M.

"The ultimate badass Jim Harris...your strength and determination is unmatched." - Kalen T.

Fundraiser Updates

Posted on December 31, 2014

Posted on December 31, 2014

Today is Day 38 of Jim’s adventure.

This bed rest is the medical equivalent of watching paint dry. It’s an unhurried process. Bone and muscle tissue repair have no red Butterball pop-up timer. The progress is guessed at and hoped for, but without any solid knowledge. In contrast, Jim’s paralyzed right leg has unmistakable spasmodic twinges throughout the day as nerve synapses fumble through their messages to command the leg muscles to do something, but no doctor is taking note or seems to care. Jim’s body is trying to say something, but the right people are not listening. During critical times in the backcountry, there can be wisdom in doing nothing, preserving energy and resources until conditions change, but this course of non-action doesn’t feel right. This is not the finger-drumming impatience of boredom. This is different. This is beginning to feel wrong.

Jim sat up last week for the first time since November 24. Jim works with an occupational therapist (OT) and a physical therapist (PT) about 20 minutes to do what we all do each morning in a matter of seconds when we wake up. Jim’s feet require compression socks and elastic bandage wraps for his lower legs to help control fluctuations in blood pressure. He puts on a sleeveless shirt by himself to serve as a layer between his skin and the pearl white hard shell CTLSO brace and hospital scrubs for pants. The OT and PT logroll Jim on his side, slide the back half of the brace beneath him, and then roll him back before attaching the front half with multiple rows of Velcro straps. With his upper body secure, Jim is hoisted up by one of the therapists as the other swings his legs over the bed. After a few moments of light-headedness, Jim becomes comfortable on the edge of his bed then becomes intense with concentration as the therapists slowly let go. It is reminiscent of the time when he learned to ride a bicycle without training wheels. Wobbly at first. Some uncontrolled leans and compensations, and then stability and confidence.

Jim’s therapy treatments have gained up a little momentum in the last two days. Yesterday’s physical therapy session included tossing a small beach ball back and forth while he sat on the edge of the bed in his brace without outside assistance. He was able to sit up for nearly an hour, but still lacks his doctor’s permission to transfer to a wheelchair, the next step of independence. Yesterday, he flexed his right quadriceps on command for the first time since the accident.  Something is reawakening.

And then there’s the hospital bureaucracy of trimming toenails. Jim’s toenails have been much talked about by the medical staff since he first entered the emergency room at University Hospital on November 30. His 21-day Colorado River paddle-and-drift trip of the Grand Canyon with 15 others in October included passage through Lava Falls, a Class IV rapid. Anneka Dore convinced Jim and others that painted toenails brought good luck and warded off problems from the hydraulic trolls in the rapid. Though most of the nail polish has worn off, enough remains to raise eyebrows and giggles. Since his feet are almost always on display, the toenails get noticed. Jim had planned to trim his nails close before leaving for his 30-day expedition in Patagonia, but his accident scotched that. When Jim has asked his nurses or nurse aids to trim his nails, he’s been told, “Oh, a podiatrist is required to do that otherwise the nails could be trimmed too close.” In other words, “Ralphie, you could shoot your eye out.” The bureaucracy of toenail clipping here at the hospital has been the object of a few running jokes among Jim’s family and friends. While Kyle was visiting with Jim over Christmas, he brought in a contraband Revlon toenail clipper and gave his brother an outlaw pedi. Merry Christmas, Jim!

Last Monday, Jim met with Dea Briggs, a neuro nurse from Craig Hospital in Denver who now serves as the hospital’s Clinical Liaison with candidate patients. She traveled from Denver to Cincinnati for a two-and-half hour, face-to-face meeting and Jim was impressed that Craig would make that level of effort. Most of the meeting was purely informational, covering daily Craig life for Jim and us, hospital policies, and air ambulance travel logistics. Jim is confident that Craig Hospital can provide him individualized rehabilitation to move him as far as possible along the dependent-independent continuum. In the first week of the New Year, Jim should have a concrete idea of when he will travel to Denver.

Thanks this week to adventure photographer Greg von Doersten and four-season adventurer Brody Leven for traveling from out of town to Cincinnati during the holidays to spend time with Jim and swap mountain stories.  Jim’s spirits are always high, but they’re highest here when mountains are part of the conversation.

Best wishes to all of you for happy and healthy 2015!

Please forward this message to any friends or family members who are interested in following Jim’s progress.

The Harris Family

Posted on December 23, 2014

Posted on December 23, 2014

“The word “adventure” has gotten overused.  For me, when everything goes wrong, that’s when the adventure starts.”–Yvon Chouinard, founder of Patagonia.

Jim’s in Day 29 of this adventure. He continues to improve on multiple fronts at Drake Hospital with some signs pointing to a successful recovery.

If you are one of the three or four people on the planet who did not see his left leg lift video from a week ago, then you missed some big news.  His physical therapist, Cori West, worked some magic, experimented with active therapeutic movement, and achieved positive results.  Using the tips of her fingers to tap and stimulate Jim’s left quadriceps while his knee was propped under a pillow, he lifted his leg several inches. This was epic.

Jim is taking his pain meds less frequently as he feels less of a need.  He took a pain pill yesterday morning after going 48 hours with none.

The paralysis of his internal organs appears to be receding. He receives a daily shot of blood thinner in his lower abdomen.  A few days ago we joked about the time he would begin to feel those shots. Yesterday, he felt it.

Last Tuesday, Jim took a slow ambulance ride from Drake Hospital to his surgeon’s office in the University Hospital complex.  Forrest McCarthy, one of Jim’s companions in Chile, was in town to bring Jim some mountain spirit and went along for the doctor’s appointment. The visit lasted only a few minutes with the surgeon and physician assistant examining the scar, removing the last of the surgical glue, and then prescribing two to three months of bed rest. Yes, two to three months.

Jim was crestfallen. He had successfully applied to Craig Hospital in Denver for rehabilitation treatment with the expectation that he would be taking an air ambulance to Colorado in early January. Now he finds himself suspended in medical purgatory. The surgeon says he needs two to three months of bed rest to reduce the risk of long-term paralysis. Craig Hospital says Jim needs to begin rehabilitation right away to reduce the risk of long-term paralysis. If Jim were in his air ambulance now, the pilot would have orders from the control tower to “circle but don’t land.”

The difference in medical opinions will likely be mediated with a to-be-scheduled “doc-to-doc” conference call. Jim recognizes the importance of the outcome of their discussion, but also understands that he is the defendant, not the judge or the jury.

Jim’s other companion in Chile and international air ambulance escort, Ben Peters, is in town filling Jim’s hospital room with additional mountain spirit, picking up where Forrest McCarthy left off. This afternoon, Jenny and Michael Fiebig from Bozeman brought tacos (purchased locally) for Jim along with a lengthy conversation of all things outdoors.

On Friday, Roy Tuscany of High Fives Foundation announced that Jim has received a grant to help cover some of his medical expenses. High Fives is a Tahoe-based non-profit that helps young athletes with spinal injuries. Jim is now a featured athlete on the High Fives blog: http://highfivesfoundation.org/blog/highfivesathletes/jim-harris/.

This past week, Jim was the subject of a lengthy front-page article in the Cincinnati Enquireron Wednesday, and two news stories on WCPO-TV, all of which are on Facebook or easily accessed on their respective websites.

With his surgeon’s blessing, this morning Jim will try to sit up for the first time since his accident four weeks ago. He will put on his CTLSO (turtle shell brace) with the help of physical and occupational therapists, and possibly move his legs over the side of the bed. Today will be another big day of adventure.

Thanks to all of you for the Christmas greetings, get well cards, the hundreds of snowflakes, and the one rogue Bat Mitzvah card (who knew?). Saturday he received a canoe paddle with a Christmas tree painted on one side from the base of the blade to the top of the handle because Jim was “up a creek” and needed help. Jim’s room is the most festive here with the most decorations and laughter, which is why the medical staff enjoys stopping by.  Thanks to all of you for making it happen.

Please forward this message to friends and family who are interested in following Jim’s progress.

Love you all!

Mary Pat & Jeff

Posted on December 17, 2014

Posted on December 17, 2014

Jim made the front page of the Cincinnati Enquirer today. Carrie Blackmore Smith wrote an amazing piece on Jim's life journey and accident. Check it out here: A Broken Body Heals: Adventurous Spirits Never Break

A broken body heals: Adventurous spirits never break

Love, Kyle

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