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HHS senior recovering after spinal cord injury

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Hobbs High senior Cesar Cervantes, 17, suffered one of the biggest setbacks a teenage boy can face and yet he is still on track to graduate with his class next year and, with a little luck, walk again.

On July 16, Cesar was swimming in his family’s above ground pool when he dove in and broke his neck.

His mother Teresa Cervantes jumped into the pool and rescued him from drowning.

“He immediately had no control (of his body),” Kristi Goodwin, a family friend, said. “If his mother wouldn’t have jumped in the water he would have drowned because he couldn’t get out of the water. They called an ambulance and from there he went to Lubbock. He spent several weeks in Lubbock getting stabilized.”

“It just lets you know how life can change in a second,” Kristi added.

On Aug. 23 Cesar was transferred to Craig Hospital is located in Englewood, Colo. Kristi said Cesar is going through rehabilitation therapy and has been put in an electric wheelchair that he can control with his right arm.

“The rehab is going really great,” Kristi said. “He doesn’t have hand and finger manipulation but he’s able to move his arm enough that he can control the wheelchair on his own so that’s great.”

Kristi said Cesar is also working on a machine that is keeping up the strength in his legs. She said the doctors hope to have Cesar up and walking again, but with a spinal injury the doctors aren’t sure if that will be completely possible.

“The goal is for him to walk again but they were very clear that you could have two injuries that are exactly the same and the recoveries can be completely different,” Kristi said. “There is no way to guess how a spinal injury will recover. There is a possibility and he’s completely willing to put the work in. It’s just how much of his body is going to recover.”

Kristi met Cesar when he was about four to five years old. She said he has been a part of her family since then and has grown up right along with her kids.

“Him and my daughter (Summer) ended up going to elementary school together so he’s always been around,” she said. “His mom calls me his stepmom. I love him to death. He’s the best kid ever.”

Cesar is planned to be discharged from Craig Hospital in November and with the help of his teachers and principal he is still on track to graduate in May.

“He is a senior and the principal has been really good working with him so he’s still on track to graduate,” Kristi said. “I really can’t say enough about Cesar. He’s so intelligent. He was called back for one of the Maddox (Foundation) interviews but unfortunately he wasn’t able to do his interview because he was in a hospital in Lubbock. He wants to be a doctor and I absolutely believe he will still be a doctor.”

After Cesar’s accident Kristi started a GoFundMe page for him and his family to help with hospital expenses. As of Friday, 52 people have donated $5,775 in two months. The fundraising goal in $25,000.

Kristi said Cesar’s family is also in need of a transport van that will help make it easier to get Cesar in and out of it.

“In the near future he’s going to need something to help get him in and out of the vehicle,” Kristi said. “That’s just going to be hard on his caregivers to help in and out as much as he would need. They need a transport vehicle.”

To make a donation visit www.gofundme.com/cesar-cervantes-medical-fund or email kristi.goodwin@cavaloz.com.

Burkett Shaw
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