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This fundraiser ended on 11/01/10

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This fundraiser is for my cousin Ben Cunningham, 24 year old stroke victim, who needs assistance with his medical bills. Ben spent a total of 40 days in the hospital following his stroke and does NOT have any health insurance.

  On May 29, 2010, Ben Cunningham woke up feeling like he had slept wrong on his arm.  His nephews had stayed the night and promptly called his mother who is a nurse.  A few hours later, he was in surgery having several blood clots removed from his brain. At 23 years old, Ben had suffered a major stroke. He came through his first surgery amazingly well and was awake and joking with family and friends within a few hours. But then, on May 31, he declined and was rushed into surgery again to have the right side of his skull removed due to swelling in his brain. Ben moved out of ICU to the rehab floor on June 8th and began the intensive rehabilitation he needed to regain some function in his left side. However, on June 12th, he suffered another setback. He was having trouble breathing and felt like he had pulled a muscle in his back. After being examined, they discovered he had several new clots that had traveled to his right lung. He was placed back into the ICU, where they started him on several blood thinners to attempt to dissolve the clots.  Ben spent his 24th birthday in the ICU struggling to breathe and in tremendous pain.  On June 15th he was allowed to return to the rehab unit to re-start his therapy.  He was then transferred to another hospital's rehab unit on June 20th where he began taking small steps with the assistance of several therapists.  We (his family and friends) were overjoyed to see him out of bed and actually taking steps.  We were told in the beginning to be "cautiously optimistic" and had never thought we would be seeing such improvement after all the setbacks he had!  Within 2 weeks he had made such great strides toward his rehabilitation that the hospital allowed Ben to come home for a few hours for the 4th of July festivities.  This was our first taste of how difficult it would be to care for Ben at home, but with 2 nurses in the family and such a strong support group, we knew we could do it!  On July 7th, Ben was released from the hospital and moved into his mother's house.  Since Ben has came home, he has continued with outpatient therapy several times a week and works out at home several hours a day.  His determination is phenomenal, and he has regained most of the use of his left leg, but continues to struggle with the use of his arm and has no control over his hand.  This is quite hard for a 24 year old boy who so loves his video games!!  But, he continues to strive and work hard and is determined he will regain full function in his entire left side.  We have held a few local fundraisers to help offset his medical expenses, however, his bills are astronomical and continue to raise due to therapy and follow-up appointments.  Within the next 2-3 months he will also have to return for another surgery to replace the portion of his skull that was removed on May 31st.  While he is without the portion of his skull, he is required to wear a helmet whenever he is up and moving around.  Any amount that is donated would be much appreciated by Ben and his whole support group.  We are trying desperately to continue to pay Ben's housing and utility bills as well so that he doesn't lose his home.  He is hoping to move back into his own house very soon.  Thank you so much for taking the time to read Ben's story.  This experience has given this young man a purpose in life.  He would like to continue to focus on his own recovery and then go back to school to become a physical therapist to help others the way his wonderful therapists have helped him!  I cannot express in words how terrifying of an experience this has been for everyone close to Ben, but we are grateful everyday that he is still here with us, and to the many people who have reached out to the family!!  Thank you so much!!!  Every little bit helps in a big way!!!!

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