Sunday, December 03, 2023

A year later, David is 'a walking miracle'

Staff Writer | March 21, 2023 1:00 AM

A year after an accident almost claimed his life, his family can't help but be thankful for how David Rachels, now 20, is doing.

A year on from the March 16, 2022, accident which left him critically injured, David Rachels has pretty much recovered. He is driving, hanging out with friends, playing games on the computer and has a new job at Kodiak. Thanks to his helmet, he suffered no long-term cognitive effects from the accident despite experiencing a stroke days after the crash, his mother, Jessica Rachels, told the Daily Bee.

"We see him as a walking miracle," she said. "Prayer saved his life. And the community was right there along with us … their comments and everything made us feel like we weren't alone."

David's last surgery in December 2022 removed two pins from his pelvis and doctors said he is recovering nicely from the surgery. David isn't in pain and he's back to normal, Rachels said.

While he struggled in the beginning with fine motor movements, playing computer games helped and David has since gotten the fine motor skills back in his hands.

They are, quite simply, thankful. And they wanted to make sure the community knows that.

"Our community's amazing," Jessica Rachels said. "It's grown so much and yet people are there for you, and they care about you. There is a lot of love in our community."

David Rachels was initially flown by medical helicopter to Kootenai Health and then Sacred Heart after the accident. David Rachels was struck on March 16, 2022, while riding his scooter across the busy U.S. 95 and Schweitzer Cutoff Road intersection by a pickup truck driver who ran a red light.

Even though David was wearing a full-face motorcycle helmet, he sustained severe internal and external injuries. In addition to multiple broken bones, many of his internal organs were bruised or lacerated from the accident.

Jessica Rachels remembers sitting in the Kootenai Health parking lot waiting for the helicopter to take off while they attempted to stabilize her son.

"At that point, we didn't know if he was going to survive," she said. "So it took a while for them to take off."

David barely survived the accident and she credits the community's prayers and the skills of the first responders and doctors for saving his life.

"He truly is a walking miracle and proof that prayer works," Jessica Rachels recently posted online.

Used to giving instead of receiving, Rachels said the outpouring of support from the community means so much to their family. From various fundraisers to a GiveSendGo account to offers to help with their special-needs daughter, the community made it so Jessica and Patrick Rachels could dedicate as much attention as necessary to their son.

"It was a shock," she said. "You know, all of it. But yeah, we definitely shed some tears, and we're just so grateful. I knew we lived in a great community, but when you witness it … "

The community's support allowed them to spend time with their son and helped them pay bills and keep their home. Community members dropped off countless meals, and donations paid for David's hyperbaric oxygen treatments. Their prayers helped save his life.

"We're just in awe," Jessica Rachels said. "It seems like thank you just isn't enough. It was a lifeline — the prayers, the cards, the financial support, and all the meals delivered."

As for the young man who ran the red light, Rachels said he was given 80 days of community service and required to take a driving course. That was, she said, what the family and David wanted.

The driver was a good kid who made a bad decision, she wrote in an update on the family's page GiveSendGo, a Christian fundraising platform similar to GoFundMe.

"Jail really doesn't do much good in a situation like this as long as the person … is remorseful and doesn't have a history of doing stupid stuff," she wrote in the update.


(Photo courtesy JESSICA RACHELS)

David Rachels is pictured in his hospital bed shortly after the March 16, 2022, accident which almost claimed his life. Even though he was wearing a full-face motorcycle helmet, he sustained severe internal and external injuries. In addition to multiple broken bones, many of his internal organs were bruised or lacerated from the accident.

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