Highlands student selling bracelets to help pay uncle's medical costs
When Brett Campbell's uncle suffered a head injury in a fall from a ladder, the Fawn teenager launched a fundraising effort that has raised $500.
Brett, 14, a student at Highlands Middle School, has made and sold about 500 button bracelets to help pay for her uncle Jeff Grossman's medical bills and physical therapy as he recovers from a traumatic brain injury.
“Whenever I can, I'm making bracelets because I love my uncle and it's terrible to see them go through this,” Brett said. “I figure I might as well help because I'll have plenty of free time to do things when I'm older.”
Brett said she came up with the idea after her mom talked about her uncle's injuries and how expensive treatment would be.
“People started to see them around school,” Brett said of the button bracelets, “and kids wanted more. …(A)ll of sudden, I started getting orders. I was amazed.”
She sells the bracelets — an elastic band with sewn-on buttons — for $5 to $7.
The Grossmans have health insurance, but their deductible is out of pocket, and their policy runs May to May.
“So I have to start all over again next month,” said Jeff's wife, Stacy Grossman, 43, of Clinton Township. “He's self-employed and we have a new home. It's been awful.”
They estimate expenses will be in the tens of thousands of dollars.
It's been a difficult journey and Grossman, 43, still has months of recovery ahead. But he's made significant progress, said his neurosurgeon, Dr. David Okonkwo, clinical director of UPMC Presbyterian hospital's Brain Trauma Research Center.
Grossman, a self-employed contractor, was injured Feb. 6 when a step-ladder gave out from under him while he was working on the window of a home in Murrysville.
He sustained nine broken ribs and minor fractures in his spine.
By far, the most serious injury was a large blood clot inside his skull.
Doctors removed half of his skull for surgery and then kept it off due to brain swelling. Last week, doctors replaced the piece of skull.
Grossman is now at home and can do all the activities of daily living without assistance.
He's an outpatient at HealthSouth Harmar Rehabilitation Hospital and continues to regain his cognitive function.
Okonkwo said Grossman's recovery is not unprecedented but, based on the type of injury, the likelihood of his recovering enough to lead a meaningful life was under 30 percent, he said.
Had Grossman not received treatment within two hours, he would have died from the clot, Okonkwo said.
“Even with treatment, there is still a substantial risk of death or permanent disability, including vegetative state,” Okonkwo said. “Against that backdrop, his current clinical condition is phenomenal.
“He has, in a relatively short period of time,experienced tremendous recovery and has returned home. … (He) is back to cracking jokes on a minute-to-minute basis, which is what everybody wants to see.”
Stacy Grossman said her husband's resolve has helped him through the initial injury and subsequent setbacks of pneumonia and fluid on the outside of his lungs.
“He's been very positive and very determined,” she said.
A ‘caring' niece
Brett Campbell's mother, Marsha, said her daughter has spent nearly all of her free time after school and band practice by making the bracelets.
The teen plans to have 30 to 50 bracelets to sell at a spaghetti dinner fundraiser this Sunday at St. Luke Lutheran Church in Jefferson Township.
“I think it's awesome. I'm so proud of her,” she said. “With all the negative things that are going on, you have a 14-year-old girl whose heart is in the right place.”
The Grossmans are touched by their niece's generosity.
“She's very caring,” Stacy Grossman said. “She made a donation jar for Sunday and put the first dollar in it.”
Jodi Weigand is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-226-4702 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Driver of pickup truck dies following crash into New Kensington house
- Filming for Cinemax TV series to divert traffic in Allegheny Township
- FirstEnergy halfway into 72-day, $60 million upgrade of Springdale facility
- Gas industry, rural character top Winfield candidates’ list
- Leechburg man held for trial in fatal wreck
- CMU astronomer lectures to Highlands students about space in pilot program
- Driver allegedly disrupts fire scene in Kiski Township
- Indiana Township couple face illegal prescription charges
- Tarentum manager will retire, hopes to step back onto council
- Buffalo Township supervisors challenged in primary
- Highlands expands budget, not taxes