Aimee Wilkens discusses her son and his road to recovery

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September 26, 2012: Aimee and Gavyn Wilkens on a walk outside the hospital in Aurora, Colorado. Photo: Heather Maloney

By, Heather Maloney

On a sunny day in July, Gavyn Wilkens and his mother Aimee where involved in a terrible accident. This accident left three year old Gavyn paralyzed from the neck down. After a handful of surgeries, both mother and son are on the long road to recovery. Gavyn’s amazing spirit has allowed him to surpass the bravery of the comic book heroes he idolizes. Today Heather had a unique opportunity to sit down with Aimee Wilkens to discuss Gavyn’s recovery, the benefit this weekend and the future for this amazing family.

Heather: This week marked a solemn anniversary, 100 days in the hospital. How is Gavyn doing?

Aimee: Gavyn is doing well and better than the doctors ever expected. We continue to have issues with a respiratory infection which is common with trachea/vented kids. Otherwise Gavyn is making amazing progress with his mouth and tongue which will lead to multiple options of communication and mobility. We will find out next week how long the halo will remain on and how his spinal fusion is healing.

Heather: You and your husband Bryan have been so strong for your son and you have an amazing support group of friends and family. What has surprised you the most since the accident?

Aimee: The generosity of people has been a pleasant surprise. Everyone asked how they can help either by stopping in to say hello, to making donations, spending time to set up benefits, to keeping a close eye on Gavyn’s progress. Many people we talk to always comment on how they check Gavyn’s caring bridge site every day for the latest updates. The whole situation has received attention which was not expected.

Heather: What are the next milestones for Gavyn? What next steps is he working on now?

Aimee: Communication is always something we are working on to find the best way for Gavyn to express himself. Speech therapy is working with Gavyn on communication devises and looking into all different options. Getting the halo off is another milestone we look forward to and hope to have more details next week. The other milestone Gavyn is working on is his mobility. Since he is a quadriplegic the ability to get around depends on his mouth function. Since he has regained some mouth function he has been learning to use a chin switch activated wheelchair. The big milestone will be to go home, which depends on Gavyn and also other intricate events. The main concern is finding the necessary home health care which is proving to be challenging with Gavyn’s high risk. We continue to work with the hospital and home health care to try and find a quality team to help us once we go home.

Heather: There is a benefit event this weekend. What types of events will there be, and will the ‘Friends for Gavyn’ bracelets be on sale?

Aimee: The bracelets will definitely be on sale at the event. We will have a couple styles and sizes for adults or children. The bracelets are each $3 and the proceeds will go to the Friends For Gavyn Foundation. The event will have multiple things going on such as food, music, face painting, bouncy houses for the kids, and a raffle. We want to give a special thank you to Jeannette Bolte-Madrigal for putting the event together and more thanks to all those that have helped donate items for the event. Please stop by to have some family fun and support our little warrior.

Heather: After this experience, what is one piece of advice that you would like to give other parents?

Aimee: Treat each moment with your kids and loved ones as if it is your last. We all get caught up in the daily routine and life can change in an instant. Life is priceless and it is always the simple things, such as a hug or shared moment, that are the most important.

The benefit this weekend will take place at Rock A Billies in Arvada, Colorado. The family fun begins at 1:00pm on October 13 and ends at 7:00 pm. If one cannot make it to the event and would still like to help, donations are accepted at www.friendsforgavyn.com. This site also contains additional information about the Wilkens family and updates on Gavyn’s progress.

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