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This fundraiser ended on 07/26/12

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Friends and family of Michelle and Shawn Chudej are uniting to raise money for remaining funeral expenses/debts after death of their father.

Saturday, April 21, 2012 started like any other day. None of us could have predicted the pain and confusion so many of us felt before the end of this day...My Uncle, Johnny Chudej, was at his son, Shawn's house visiting. Shawn had recently been released from the hospital for fracturing his skull in a 4-wheeler accident. After a few hours with his son, he decided to head home. He said his goodbyes, put his helmet on and got on his motorcyle, and rode away. It was a gorgeous day to ride.

Shawn received a phone call about 5-10 minutes after his dad left. The phone call was from his dad's phone, but it was not his dad on the other end of the line. His dad had been in an accident and a bystander got his phone to try to contact his family. The accident happened only 5 miles from Shawn's house.

Shawn arrived at the scene just after EMS. His dad was unresponsive. His dad was not breathing. Witnesses at the scene said that his dad was fine one second, then it seemed to them like he had a heart attack and that he was trying to pull over but that when his front tire reached the ditch, Johnny went over the handle bars. As I said before, he was wearing a helmet.

Johnny was taken to Hillcrest and then later transferred to Scott & White in Temple. By this time, his daughter, MIchelle, had made the 4 hour trip to be with her daddy. There were no clear answers to the extent of his injuries after multiple tests. Monday morning Johnny went in to surgery--exploratory brain surgery. They were going in blind to try to find any injuries not on the scans. After many hours in surgery, they came out with the same questions and no more answers. An MRI was scheduled to determine how much brain damage he had. But they had to postpone that to surgically remove the tip of a needle that had been broken off accidentally by EMS workers at the scene. The MRI couldn't be performed until the metal was removed due to magnets involved in MRI's...Finally, Sunday evening an MRI was completed. We were not able to get results until the early am hours of Monday.

The news was what we had all feared since we had found out about his accident. When Johnny went over the handlebars, he hit head first. We know this because of the small scratches on top of his helmet. Apparently when he hit his head, he fractured his skull and a small fragment of his skull became lodged into the main artery that supplies blood flow to the brain. His brain was no longer receiving blood. He would never have any control over voluntary movement nor would he be able to breathe on his own. The damage was irreversible. There was nothing that they could do.

Life Support was terminated late Monday Night on April 23, 2012. Johnny was 58 years old.

No one can prepare for the death of a loved one but losing a parent is especially difficult. The pain that Michelle and Shawn felt is something that most of us know nothing about, but they know more than anybody in their 30's should...

It was just under 3 years ago that they lost their mother to cancer. Barbara Chudej died on July 26, 2009 at age 54. It seemed that they were just beginning to really cope with some of that pain even though they still feel the pain of losing their mother every single day. Michelle and Shawn's parents were married for 35 years and had 2 kids. These two kids have lost both of their loving parents.

Johnny's tragic death has left his kids and his family completely unprepared for this extremely painful time. They have been faced with numerous unforseen challenges, both emotionally and financially...his life insurance barely put a dent in funeral expenses. He had no savings, but he did leave some debt that is now left to his children.

The last thing Michelle and Shawn need to focus on right now is money. This time should be for them to grieve the loss of both parents, to reflect, and to find a way to look forward.

The financial burden on top of the grief they feel is overwhelming. We are hoping to help take some of that burden off of Michelle and Shawn so they can have the chance to focus on grieving this unimaginable loss.

All donations raised will go towards paying the remaining funeral expenses and debts that were left by their father.

Please show your support and keep them in your prayers during this extremely painful time. All donations, big or small, will make a difference in their lives and would be greatly appreciated!

Thank you for taking time to read their story.
Denise Chudej
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