"Miracle Boy" continues amazing recovery from accident
Whether it is working on balance, playing checkers or re-learning how to make food in the kitchen, Randon Timmons must wear a helmet. And, he isn't happy about it.
"I hate wearing this helmet while I work out," Timmons said during his physical therapy session at Rehabilitation Hospital in Fort Wayne. "There's no reason why I have to. It's just that I got to."
"We have to protect your brain. You've got to have the helmet," responded physical therapist Marie Berghoff.
Ironically, Timmons is wearing a helmet now because he wasn't wearing one the day his life changed.
"They were doing what they call 'skitching.' Hitching a ride with a skateboard," said Van Buren Town Marshal Pat Collins.
"He was holding onto the back of a car," said Randon's father Randy Timmons. "The driver, which was an 18-year old, told him to grab on and took off at a fairly high rate of speed."
"He was just going fast and I hit, like a bump, and I did a flip," said Randon Timmons.
"Randon lost his balance and tumbled, hit the pavement," said Randy Timmons.
By the time Dr. Walter Jacobsen saw him in the emergency room, "His brain activity was almost gone."
Randon was in grave condition when he underwent surgery. Surgeons removed the skull completely to give Brandon's brain space to swell.
"We didn't think he was going to make it. We thought that was the end. And we were going to have to go to a funeral," said Van Buren resident Angie Wright.
Randy Timmons stayed at his son's bedside.
"All night long, I just held onto him, telling him how much I loved him and to stay with me. 'Don't leave me. Stay with me'," said Randy Timmons who thought about the other tragedies that he has dealt with in his life.
"I lost my dad and my nine-year-old brother in a car accident in 1975, I questioned the Lord. Why a nine-year-old boy deserved to get slaughtered like that on the highway. Part of me died, too. I stayed that way for 23 years. I went to hell in a hand basket. The choice of life wasn't good. I didn't care no more. I didn't care if the sun rose the next day or not. I did not care," said Randy Timmons.
"His mother got pregnant with Randon. I came back to life again. I thought maybe the Lord has been with me, maybe all the bad, I couldn't see past that. The first night, Brandon clinging to life, I asked the Lord, I prayed if you're real, I need it proved to me. And, I need it proved to me now. And obviously, it's been proven to me," said Randy Timmons.
While his son lay in the hospital fighting for his life, his hometown rallied behind the injured teen.
"Van Buren is a small town. A lot of people don't know about it. But we have big hearts. And they love their friend Randon," said Van Buren resident Kelly Jones.
Residents launched a social media campaign to support Randon.
"We've had a prayer vigil. We had almost 80 people come out for that. Last Friday, we had a concert and a walkathon. We had over 80 people come out for that," said Jones.
The prayers worked.
"There are certainly miracles in everyday life. This is one of the major ones," said Dr. Jacobsen. "I think it's a miracle he's doing as well as he is. To be able to come out of it and do as well as he's doing now is dramatic. It's certainly miraculous."
Randon began showing improvement. He got out of his hospital bed and amazed everyone in therapy.
"He's made so much progress over the last couple of weeks, it's mind-boggling," said Randy Timmons.
The good news spread quickly on Facebook. Friends raced to the hospital to see it for themselves. But. there was something else fueling the comeback.
"Dad, is my best friend. Come here dad, give me a hug," Timmons told his father.
"Love you Randon," said Randy Timmons.
"Love you too, dad," answered Randon Timmons.
"Love you more," countered Randy Timmons. "That says it all."
After several weeks in a Fort Wayne rehab center, father and son received the best news.
"We're going home Randon," said Randy Timmons.
"Feels pretty good. I mean, three weeks and two days. It was awful. Plus, all this brain injury I got. Man," said Randon Timmons.
They drove past the hospital where doctors saved his life. As they made the long drive back to Van Buren, the community was planning a surprise - a welcome home celebration. The teen some thought might not make it, did!
"Let me give you a hug. Love you bud. So glad you're home. You're home," said Kelly Jones as she hugged Randon.
The comeback kid became the center of attention in a town where the population is only 800. Randon Timmons not only wanted to show his appreciation. He also wanted people to see something else - his injured head.
"Look at that dude," said Randon Timmons as he removed his helmet in front of a friend. "It's just awful."
Soon he will undergo another surgery so doctors can insert bones which will improve the shape of his head.
"Since he has made such a dramatic recovery, I would think he could get into a pretty normal life for a teenager," said Dr. Jacobsen. "There will be some permanent damage. When you look at the brain, there's a good portion of our brain we honestly don't know exactly what it does. His family would see certain things that outsiders, neurosurgeons wouldn't be able to pick up. Subtleties that we wouldn't pick up. He may not find the same jokes funny. It's very common to have amnesia to an event like this. So, he may not remember much of what happened to him or even weeks after. Those memories may get lost. But based on how much of his brain is still intact, I would expect him to make newer memories."
Doctors say Randon must wear the helmet while his head heals and warn a second head injury could be devastating.
"I would not have him play contact sports. Physical activity is good for all of us. But he should avoid anything that would let him take a major hit to the head. So things like football, hockey, he should avoid. Baseball, basketball, if he's not playing at a highly competitive level, where he could risk an injury to the head, those are things we would encourage," said Dr. Jacobsen.
"Feels terrific to see all these people. And congratulate me on being home. Being alive. Just feels amazing," said Randon Timmons.
"It's just been amazing to see the miracle that God's performed," said Kelly Jones.
"I call him a walking miracle. He's our miracle boy. Today was the greatest day I've ever seen," said Van Buren resident Angie Wright.