Nathaniel Cook Recovery Fund

For: Nathaniel Cook
Organizer: Administrated by Kerry Bloedorn, Nathaniels Big Brother
of $20,000 goal
81% Complete
This fundraiser is closed. Thank you for your support!

The Story

**This story has been relayed by Nathaniel in the hospital to his Family and correlated with the evidence at the Cook residence. He fortunately, or unfortunately, remembers every detail of the accident vividly. He only needs close his eyes and it is re-lived in his mind at any time, he is able to re-tell the story with consistency and confidence. This story may be changed as Nathaniel corrects any inconsistencies with my relaying of the story.

On July 2nd 2013, about 2:30 in the afternoon. 13 year old Nathaniel Cook was mowing lawn at the Cook home on Ormsby Rd in Deerbrook WI, just North of Antigo WI. He was home alone while George(Nathaniel's father) was in town at a chiropractor appointment and Angela and Amarah(Nathaniel's Mother and younger Sister) were down in Madison, WI finishing up a weekend of visiting with Family and Friends. While mowing, he discovered a large ant hill in the yard, and decided to burn it out. He went to find some lighter fluid and instead found a can of gas, not just regular gas, but Nitromethane, literally... rocket fuel, 20+ times more flammable than unleaded gasoline. It was left over from a gas powered RC race car he has. Unaware of the extreme danger, he applied the Nitromethane gas and lit the ant hill on fire causing the contents of the can in his hand to explode. As Nathaniel turned to avoid the sudden burst of flame, he was splattered with burning Nitromethane, starting his shirt, pants and body on fire, causing Nathaniel to be severely burned. He ran to the house blinded, ripping his burning clothes off, stumbling and running into things in the yard, He finally made it and immediately got into a cold shower. The best feeling he's ever felt coupled with the worst feeling he's ever felt. After a minute in the shower, despite the excruciating burning pain, Nathaniel gains his senses enough to know, he needs to get out and find his phone to get help. Everyone in the Family carries a personal cell phone, including Nathaniel. Unfortunately, such are the times, that there was no land-line at the Cook residence. A mistake well noted with 20/20 hindsight. Frantically He clamoured around the house practically blind, seeing only shadows, looking for his phone. The burning pain is so intense he can only stand it for several minutes before he gets back into the cool shower a 2nd time. Again, he exits the shower and knows he needs to get help or he will die, so he runs up the gravel driveway, burnt, bare-footed and naked, down the road toward the nearest neighbour. The sun shining and the hot pavement is causing his burns to blaze with pain, and he gives up after about 50 yards, so he turns around and makes it back to the house and the shower a 3rd time. Again, he gets out of the shower, again, he searches blindly for his phone. With all his amazing will-power to get help, and determination to save himself, he forgot his phone was in his shorts pocket, which the phone was now little more than black burned plastic and circuits in the yard, which wouldn't be found until days later by George. At this point, Nathaniel runs back out to the road, he hears a tractor or large vehicle coming down the road, he sees a red shadowy blur approaching, he's standing on the side of the road, jumping up and down, waving his arms, naked, burnt, screaming in pain "help! help! help!" He thinks, "I'm saved"..... and they drive right by.......his determination gone, He feels now he's surely going to die, he makes his way to the house, again, and this time lays down and feels he could give up, and wants to just go to sleep, But NO! He musters the energy, literally crying out to God to save him! He returns to the shower for a 4th time! Again, he gets out and now remembers there is one of the Family cars by the work-shop, 25 yards from the house. He goes there by muscle memory, still seeing only shadows, and gets in the car, but he doesn't drive, and he can't see the shifter letters and decides not to risk it, at the same time remembering the small 4-wheeler they have, which he finds near the car. He covers the hot black seat with a towel because its too painful to sit on and turns the he pull starts it! He races out onto the road, shifting through all 5 gears, hearing the small engine screaming, maxing out the RPM's. He manages to drive by shadowy vision 3/10th of a mile to the nearest neighbours, Morris and Virginia Wegner's house. Nathaniel pulls into the driveway and notices the Wegner's garage door is closed..... He knows from experience, if the garage door is closed, odds are good they are home. So he thinks, "Thank you God I'm saved", and runs into the Wegner's house. 87 year old Morris Wegner sees Nathan and asks him what happened. Nate can't explain and just keeps screaming in pain the only thing he could think "911, 911, 911". Nathan remembers Morris stoically getting on the phone and calmly telling the 911 dispatch about the situation. Thankfully they sent the Flight-For-Life Helicopter right away. George was contacted while at his chiropractor appointment by the Sheriff and got to the Wegner Residence shortly after the Paramedics arrived by ambulance. He was immediately given strong IV medications and packaged for transport. The Helicopter landed in the agricultural field next to the Wegner's farm, Nathaniel was loaded up with his last memory being of falling asleep in pain. Nate made the hour+ flight to the UW-Madison Burn Center in critical condition. Nate was admitted to the Burn Unit ICU with 54% of his body burned in the 2nd and 3rd degree, on his back and torso, circumferencial burns to his arms and legs, other major burns to his neck and head, some of which are on his face and ears, as well as flash burn to his corneas(eyes) resulting in his blindness at the time. Angela got word shortly after the accident and was only an hour north of Madison on her way home. She turned around and went to the UW-Madison Burn Center. George also got ready immediately and started his way to Madison from Antigo. You can imagine the incredible fear, worry, pain, heartache, and mostly, the helplessness they felt not knowing if Nathaniel would live. The incredible staff at the UW-Madison Burn Center went right to work debriding and cleaning Nathaniels charred skin and flesh. After that he was dressed in a full body wrap, head to toe in special burn dressings, gauze, and compression wraps. He was stabilised yet in a precarious condition, put on a feeding tube through his nose, put on an auto-ventilator down his throat to ensure his breathing because of the possibility of burned mouth, throat, and lungs, several IV's, a catheter, numerous leads for monitoring vitals, and heavily sedated. Nate is now stabilised at the UW Madison Burn Center and will be in the hospital in the Burn Center ICU till at least September going through multiple skin graft surgeries. Angela and George have been put up at the Ronald Mcdonald House for a small fee per night. Thankfully Nathan's major medical bills will be covered by Insurance. But the extra expenses involved in living in Madison during his recovery, driving back and forth from Antigo and Madison and the additional cares and therapies not covered that Nathaniel will need during his recovery are a huge financial burden. In order to help with this burden this Fund Raiser has been set up. As many know, Nathan is a very sweet, wonderful, caring, funny, hearty, intelligent, brave, incredible, STRONG young man. With the high risk of infection and other medical issues associated with severe burns, Nathaniel is in for a long arduous fight. Nathaniel and his Family will need your thoughts and prayers everyday.

**Wow! I'm amazed how fast the initial goal of 10k was surpassed. What a great start to relieving the financial burden of Nathaniel's recovery. The extent and reality of Nathaniel's repairs and recovery are becoming more and more apparent everyday as a time frame for his healing is established. Nathaniel's primary Doctor has set a total recovery time of approximately 3 years. He'll remain in the UW-Madison Burn Unit till at least September having several skin graft surgeries and struggling through the intense healing that goes with them. Upon returning home Nathaniel will need regular rehab, as well as visits to various doctors appointments, first once a week, then bi-weekly, and finally, monthly. With a long term plan in place, and a better picture of the financial responsibility it will take, the Nathaniel Cook Recovery Fund will raise its goal to a final long term goal of 20k. The success of Nathaniel's healing, his health, and brighter future would not be possible without you. It is because of your compassion, and sacrifice Nathaniel's Family feels relief in a time of great difficulty. Thank you to all who have donated thus far and continue to share Nathaniel's story. We are humbled by the generosity and forever grateful. - Kerry Bloedorn 

*Nathans Major hospital bills, which will be in the hundreds of thounsands of dollars, are covered by insurance. This fund will help defray the thouands of dollars of additional expenses involved in Nathaniel's recovery that are not covered, allowing Nathaniel to have the best and fastest recovery possible. The funds from this site go DIRECTLY into Angela Perry Cooks(Nathaniel's Mother) paypal account, accessible to Angela and George as it is needed. It is important to the integrity of this Family to be honest and forthright, hence the explanation of how these funds are processed and how they will be used.

**From Angela Perry Cook. I have received so many requests for an address to send things to Nathaniel. Here's two addresses depending on what you want to send.
To send things to his room:
UW of Wisconsin Hospital 600 Highland Avenue Madison, Wi 53792 Attention Burn Unit Nathaniel Cook
*he cannot have anything alive, as is carries bacteria. i.e. flowers/plants etc...
To send it to me:
Ronald McDonald House 2716 Marshall Ct Madison, Wi 53792

Fundraiser Updates

Posted on August 19, 2013 by Administrated by Kerry Bloedorn, Nathaniels Big Brother
Link to Channel 9 Wausau's Story on Nathaniels Homecoming

Posted on August 16, 2013 by Administrated by Kerry Bloedorn, Nathaniels Big Brother
Update 8-15-13 by Angela Perry Cook

Completely overwhelmed with gratitude at the outpouring of love from the community of Antigo!!!

I wish I would have pulled over by the Boys and Girls Club to say a special thank you

Then to turn onto our road...the road that held the memories of burning for Nathaniel, and to have it lined with loving caring friends! Plus Morris and Virginia!

Balloons, signs and beautiful smiles were everywhere!!! I wish I had pictures!


I cannot imagine just the 4 of us turning onto our road and driving in silence...pulling into our driveway in silence alone...walking into the house alone.

When we got to the place on the road where Nate was standing when the can exploded, he doubled over and starting crying his eyes out. He cried, "I can see myself running and burning!!! I can smell my skin burning! I'll never go in this yard! I'm not getting out of the van!" I didn't know what to do???
On top of that Channel 9 showed up?
Suddenly I felt like Nate was on display. We took him in the house and he asked that people came in by him.
Geo and I went into the yard to speak with Channel 9. They were very kind and respectful. Nate said he wanted to talk too, so they came inside. He did a wonderful job of telling his story, and then....he took them outside to retrace his steps. Geo went and got the shred of what was left of his tshirt, and Nathaniel's melted charred cell phone.
It was very cathartic for all of us, and I was glad they were there to draw us out.

Friends helped us unload the TON of stuff, and get it to it's designated room.

Geo and I sat on the deck for the 1st time this summer We enjoyed some soup left in the fridge by a friend.

I now sit in our balloon poster filled house...Nate and Amarah are both on mattresses in our room (Nate wants to 'ease' into his room ~ Amarah wants the camaraderie lol) I feel loved and grateful Can't wait to get into my bed!!! THANK YOU HEAVENLY FATHER!!!!!!!

Note from Kerry: For those of you that check these udates
Here's a link to the Channel 9 story :)

Posted on August 15, 2013 by Administrated by Kerry Bloedorn, Nathaniels Big Brother
Update 8-14-13 by Angela Perry Cook

*Every thing at the Ronald McDonald House packed - check

* Nathaniel Being Healed Cook's room packed - check * Van Loaded - check

* Car Loaded - check

* Groceries to get us through til Monday - check

* Nate's 2 Hour Wound care and bandage change - check

* Nate dressed - check

* Meds Picked up - Check

* Special Soap, Special Lotion, Antimicrobial Gauze, Wound Veil, Regular Gauze, scissors, tape, and Derma Fit for 15 dressing changes - check

* Next weeks PT Appts. Made - nope

* Scar Massage Appts made - nope

* My house clean - check!!!!!! Thank you everyone who helped!!!!

* Our Lawn mowed, garden tended, chickens and fish still alive - check!!!!!! Thank you to all who helped!!!!

* Money to survive and get Nate all he needs for his full recovery over the next few years - check!!! Thank you to all who gave!!!!!!

* Shower Seat - check Thank you Bonnie

* Duel shower head installed in order to wash Nate while he sits - check Thank you Dan!



Almost outta here ---> ALMOST

-Angela Perry Cook

Posted on August 15, 2013 by Administrated by Kerry Bloedorn, Nathaniels Big Brother
Udate 8-15-13 by Kerry Bloedorn

GREAT NEWS!!! Nathaniel is being discharged today!!!

He will be taken home by George and Angela, they have been instructed in Nates wound care and dressing changes for at home. Nates body will need continuous, diligent care for the next year. Nathaniel will wear a special compression suit, it has been likened to a wet suit a diver might wear.  Nathaniel will have weekly trips back to the UW-Madison burn center for awhile as his healing progresses.

Thinking about all Nathaniel, and our Family has been through, including friends. I'm writing this with tears streaming, all the love and support and blessings from above are moving beyond words.

Thank you, Thank you, THANK YOU!!!

Updates will continue on Nathaniels progress.

-Kerry Bloedorn

Posted on August 8, 2013 by Administrated by Kerry Bloedorn, Nathaniels Big Brother
Update 8-8-13 by Angela Perry Cook

Got through the dressing change with nothing but Morphine - BIG step

That means the pain wasn't such that he needed to be put under for the dressing change on his donor sites, which means HEALING!

The burns that didn't need grafts are healed, just pink.

The 1st grafts are almost completely healed
The latest grafts are coming along perfectly

Rumor has it...a shower is scheduled for Sunday! A HUGE step towards home!

Thank you again EVERYONE who has prayed, given, helped, and in any way contributed towards Nathaniel's healing and our families well being. We are so so blessed

Posted on August 8, 2013 by Administrated by Kerry Bloedorn, Nathaniels Big Brother
Update 8-8-13 by Kerry Bloedorn Nathaniel has continued to heal at a remarkable pace.

Nathaniel's last major skin graft surgery went well. They removed most of the skin from his left leg, not including the buttocks and grafted it to his back. Following the surgery Nathaniel was in terrible, excruciating pain "like being constantly stung by hundreds of bees" Nate said. Even with the powerful pain medications, it was still intolerable for the first 48 hours. After that, every day his body healed the pain was easier to manage but still miserably stuck in bed, soaking wet, catheter, bedpans, in pain, no movement.. etc... No fun at all!

3 Days after the last major surgery, they did a dressing change on the grafted areas of his back and sides, everything looked good and nothing but good reports from the burn team. I was able to be in the room for this and thought everything looked good from my perspective.(With my limited knowledge as a CNA ad EMT) Since the integra and grafted skin is almost translucent like, it looks like Nathaniel's back is skinned to the muscle. But Doctor assures us everything is going as planned.

Several days later they did a full dressing change on his graft areas as well as the donor sites on his legs(which have been the most painful). Everything was healing well, donor sites looked good. Doctor said all was on schedule.

Jump ahead 7 difficult days after the grafting. You won't be surprised to know Nathaniel is healing at an extraordinary rate, off the feeding tube, off the catheter, getting out of bed, cleaning and dressing himself to some degree, walking around the hospital, running even!!! Sleeping through the night, (as well as a person can with hourly vitals, meds, and wellness checks). Daily PT going great! Pain still persists and is managed accordingly. Nathaniel has a list of things he must accomplish before he is discharged. When he will be discharged is anyone's guess. If the healing continues as it has, he's looking at a discharge date anywhere between 7-15 days. !!! I know, hard to believe. Upon being discharged from UW Madison Hospital. He will be able to go home, and once home the fight will go on. He will have daily wound/burn care which will be taught to him, Angela and George. He will have to wear a special tight fitting suit to protect the new skin. No sunlight and taking it easy at home. Nathaniel will at first have bi-daily appointments, then weekly, then monthly has time goes on. Nathaniel will realise quickly he has not come home in the same body he left in. Adjusting to those changes will be a tremendous challenge, one I'm absolutely positive he will meet head on with a steel resolve! Courage and ambition like a lion!

Thank you all so much for following Nathaniel's progress. Your thoughts. prayers and donations have made this unfortunate journey more bearable. This could not be accomplished without your commitment. May God bless you back 1000 fold.

Please continue to share Nathaniel's story, in person, on facebook, through email etc.... continue to encourage donations to this fund site. The most difficult phase in his healing is almost complete. But the next phase will prove a different kind of hardship. Updates will continue on this page as Nate returns home. There's more road to travel, Nathaniel will need us till the end. We know we can count on you :)

- Kerry Bloedorn

Posted on July 30, 2013 by Administrated by Kerry Bloedorn, Nathaniels Big Brother
Update 7-29-13 by Kerry Bloedorn

Nathaniel's big surgery tomorrow!

Nathaniel is scheduled for his last, hopefully, major skin graft surgery tomorrow morning at 730am.
-They will take practically all of the skin from his legs, perforate it, stretch it and cover his entire back, and sides.
The integra they put on 2 weeks ago has been healing well and has provided a solid, blood vessel filled base for the graft. Essentially, when the dermis (lowest layer of skin before fat and muscle) is destroyed, it will never grow back. So they use the integra as a faux-dermis. When they put the grafted skin over it, which will be the epidermis (the top layer of skin) from his legs, it will think it's on the dermis and will grow as it would normally, although, any areas with integra and grafted skin will not grow hair, or sweat, since the integra lacks follicles and sweat glands.
Nathaniel "shouldn't" have any worse pain on the areas where they apply the graft, but the donor sites from his legs will be extremely painful due to exposed nerves from basically being filleted. This is a nerve pain that isn't easily masked by narcotics or other heavy-duty pain medications. Therefore the next week will be very difficult. Most likely the hardest since his first couple of weeks. He will be bedridden again for 2+weeks. After this last week, of therapy including being able to get out of bed, roll over, use the actual bathroom, go outside in the wheelchair, eat, and do other normal things we take for granted every day. He'll be back on the feeding tube, catheter hooked back up, stuck in bed on his back, NO MOVEMENT!, soaking wet from dressings that need regular "soaks", as the Nurses call them, when they inject antibiotic like fluid into the dressings routinely, not to mention, in severe pain.

So there's the latest, its going to be a very rough 2 weeks. For Nathaniel, as well as for my Mom and Geo. And on all of us, including you, that are so invested in this, and are worried too. Thoughts, Prayers and Love will be needed now more than ever. Thank you to each and every one of you. I think about all the names I read every day of people who have helped us through this. I speak for our entire family in not being able to say enough. THANK YOU from the bottom of our hearts.
- Kerry Bloedorn

Specific Prayer requests:

-Surgery goes well, guide the hands of the surgeons and support staff.

-That they only have to take skin from the legs, and no more, none from the buttocks especially as its very hard to heal that area.

-QUALITY PAIN MANAGEMENT!(Going to need the big mans help for that! The best drugs ain't gonna cut it)

-Fast healing -Strength for Nate, Angela, George and family.

-Continued guidance in knowing how to support Nathaniel and knowing the right things to say in such a helpless time.

Posted on July 27, 2013 by Administrated by Kerry Bloedorn, Nathaniels Big Brother
Note 7-27-13 reposted from Angela Perry Cook

Today there is a fundraiser in our hometown of Antigo for Nathaniel Being Healed Cook...
- Its a lot to take in - the outpouring of generosity, time, energy, thought, commitment...

Not just this fundraiser today, but the thoughtful cards and gifts, the prayer sites and prayer chains in churches everywhere, the donation jars set up at La Mexicana and Taco John's both of Antigo, the people who have mowed our lawn, cleaned out our fridge, fed our chickens, kept our garden up, Offered to help. The folks who have donated via the Fundraising site...
It's just so overwhelming! All for our son and his healing! Helping us provide for our family and the support system down here we desperately need! Parking Fees, gas & food for overnight help. Relieving the financial burden of living in Madison, of the nutritional healing were providing for Nathaniel. A source for the next 3 yrs (Surgeons guess) for his complete rehabilitation!
THANK YOU!!!!!!!!

If you are reading this and have given in ANY way --> I am thinking of you!
We are SO Grateful for each act and thought of kindness!!!

dear God, we ask that you would give back to these people! Pressed down and overflowing! Help us to be wise stewards of all that has been provided, knowing you've given it through them. You know the future and so we trust this is what is needed for Nathaniel! Thank you for the way you use people to bring about your plan.

Posted on July 27, 2013 by Administrated by Kerry Bloedorn, Nathaniels Big Brother
Update 7-27-13 By Kerry Bloedorn 

Nathaniel continues to heal ahead of schedule, still a recovery of 3 years.
Nathaniel has had some opportunities this last week to move around and do some therapy, get out of bed, use the ACTUAL bathroom, and even go outside a few times! His first trip outside after 22 days in a hospital! This, the boy who could do standing back-flips and spent a majority of his time outside, to laying in bed for 22 days.

Despite continued tube feedings Nathaniel has been eating real food, one of his request's was a big steak, no one can deny him the protien :) Nathaniel has been going through daily dressing changes. Sometimes they put him under, sometimes only strong pain maneagement, so he is awake for the change. Nathaniel has seen his burns and ill tell you they are, although healing, very graphic and "raw" looking at this stage. His entire back and arm literally look skinless down to the muscle and covered in "integra".  

Nathaniel will undergo his next major surgery this tuesday. They will remove good skin from healed areas and stretch it to cover his entire back. This will be a very painful surgery and will entail him being bed ridden for 2 weeks again. The next surgery will most likely be the hardest, then the real healing can begin.

The challange continues, Nathaniel continues to meet every day head on! His strength and determination is inspiring!

Thank you all for the ongoing love and support.

Posted on July 24, 2013 by Administrated by Kerry Bloedorn, Nathaniels Big Brother
Update 7-24-13 By Angela Perry Cook This is Nathaniel Being Healed's precious FREEDOM WEEK! This week he can get out of bed and have some measure of freedom! Next Tuesday he will have his most serious major surgery. The last surgery was minor...they took the skin from the circumference of his right calf to graft to his upper left arm and right leg. The surgery next Tuesday ... They have to cover his entire back and right arm above the elbow. According to the surgeon, They will have to "take skin from every place on his left leg, left arm, both thighs, and worse case scenario from his butt (cause the pain on the butt is so bad). That's for the record Right now we will focus in the good! He went outside! He got his feeding tube out! IT'S THE LITTLE THINGS!!!!

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