ZIONSVILLE, Ind. — There are times when everything you can think of to comfort a child doesn't work for Levi Chisolm. Levi can't walk or talk and has seizures.
"There's been some really hard days on this journey, so we're just praying that there's light on the other side of all this," said Levi's mom, Meagan Chisolm.
Levi and his twin sister, Lainey, will turn 3 in January. Both were pulled from a pool last Thanksgiving in after nearly drowning in Marion County.
"We were just at a friend's house and, you know, planned a fun afternoon of swimming. We're done swimming. Kids were dressed, we were having dinner, and the kids went to play in the other room. And unfortunately, the twins got into the pool," Meagan said. "We don't know how long either was in the pool."
Talking about that day is visibly distressing for Meagan and her husband, Scott.
"We were able to resuscitate Lainey there, so we knew that, you know, her progress was gonna be better because it took us a little bit longer to get Levi's heartbeat back," Scott said. "That type of time without oxygen to the brain leads to what we're dealing with."
Lainey has fully recovered and has no sign of injury.
"We got the MRIs back on both kids and we're saddened, obviously, with Levi's and were surprised in a good way by Lainey, so we thank God for the miraculous healing that she's had," Scott said.
Lainey is thriving and is a daily reminder of that miracle and of where Levi should be.
"Levi was the dominant twin, and they were always together, and it's just changed everything," Meagan said. "There's such a void now and empty space, and memories are all different now because they aren't together anymore. So it's just changed everything."
The Chisolms live in Zionsville with their oldest son, Connor, 7, and daughter, Charley, 5, who was diagnosed with a genetic syndrome at birth. Both Charley and Levi have feeding tubes in their stomachs.
"We don't just have one medically fragile child, we have two, and they both have needs throughout the night. And so there's no rest here. There's no break," Meagan said.
There is no treatment or no alternative medicine that Meagan will ignore if it could help her children.
"We'll have MRI, physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, we have vision therapy. We have a chiropractor, Dr. Nancy, that comes and adjusts him at least three times a week. We've recently started with a cranial sacral therapist. We've had a reflexologist, so it's busy," Meagan said.
Meagan said in August, Levi was particularly agitated, unhappy and not sleeping. She connected with a doctor in India who prescribed supplements and CBD, which Meagan said have been life-changing. Levi is calmer and provides moments of hope.
"We know that the brain can rewire itself and it takes time, so of course nothing's happening as fast as we hope, but we're not going to give up," Meagan said.
Levi's hands used to be clenched in tight fists and his legs bent at the knees. Now, his hands open, his legs have straightened and there are times when it seems his eye contact is purposeful.
"Every day, we just look for a small win, and it can be really small or it can be pretty exciting, but we just look for a positive each day to get us through the day," Meagan said. "So it's small. We really feel like we're starting over with Levi, and we kind of look at this journey as a rebirth."
Meagan left her job to care for Levi full time with the help of a home nurse.
"We aren't naïve in the fact that the road will be a complex one, but it's our son," Scott said.
This Thanksgiving, the family hopes to make new memories and give thanks to those who continue to show up. Many gathered outside the hospital to pray in the days after the accident. Hundreds of thousands are following the family's updates online. The cards, messages and prayers provide the fuel for Meagan to move forward.
"People are kind, people are good and people care. It's been honestly the most beautiful experience on top of a heartbreaking experience because we've learned what real love is. We've learned what kindness is. We've learned what community is and what it means," Meagan said.
Meagan said she's also learned not to second-guess kindness or generosity.
"If you're thinking about doing outreach for someone, just do it because it means more than you could ever know," Meagan said. "It'll be a tough day, and I'll open the mailbox and there'll be a card from a stranger, and it just is what gets me through that day."
The family recently raised $75,000 for other families with children with neurological issues at a golf outing at Eagle Creek. Meagan said the Light for Levi Foundation is a way to find purpose in pain and to pay forward the gifts given to her family.