I’m posting a letter from my sweet parents, serving a mission for the LDS church in Fiji:
July 18, 2012
Dear Friends and Family,
Some of you are very aware of the recent tragic auto accident Seth and Caroline were in, others of you may be learning of this for the first time. We wanted to give you all a brief update:
A few days ago, Seth and Caroline along with their children, Tommy (4 1/2 yrs) and Cali (1), Caroline’s younger sister, Katie (18yrs.), and 3 friends – including Seth’s best friend from Corvallis, Seth Wiggins, were all traveling by car from their home in Zambia to Zimbabwe. The driver fell asleep and the car rolled three times, crashing into a tree just at the front passenger seat where our Seth was seated. Though banged up, Seth Wiggins and the two other friends appear to have not been injured badly. Tommy was thrown from the car and had a concussion and cuts to his head, Cali seems to have been spared any serious injury, Caroline has a very serious cut on her foot, Katie has broken ribs and lung contusion along with a serious concussion and perhaps other undiagnosed injuries. Seth Sherry was critically injured with a broken neck and back (C-1 & C-6 vertebrae). As you can imagine, the care in a 3rd world country is lacking and compromised, particularly with Seth. Over a period of a day and half, it became clear that if Seth’s life and limb movement abilities were to be preserved, he would need to be flown to Johannesburg, South Africa which the insurance company did arrange and Seth Wiggins accompanied him on the flight (where he remains to give perfect care and attention to our Seth). Caroline and family stayed behind in a clinic in Harare, Zimbabwe (the capital) where they are now in the care of local LDS church members. All of them have been treated and released with the exception of Katie, but she now seems to be showing signs of improvement.
In South Africa, all exams and tests were redone and the injuries more specifically identified. Seth continues to have movement in feet and hands though his shoulders and arms above the elbow have diminished sensation and movement (this however, has improved over the last couple days – a very good sign). As of today, neurosurgeons are still discussing the best approach to stabilize Seth’s neck and back. The next step in doing so is critical and of immediate concern to prevent paralysis. As of this writing, we don’t know what course of action will be decided upon but it will likely happen in the next 24 hours.
There have been so many prayers, blessings, people in the right places, and miraculous help from LDS Church members in both Zimbabwe and South Africa. We appreciate your concern and prayers, they are deeply meaningful to us and important for Seth, Caroline and family. Between the physical injuries, time zone differences, challenges in long distant communication and getting accurate information, and the future unknowns, this is a terribly trying time but we trust in the Lord and pray for His watchcare to do what we cannot. We will update you all as we are able. Thank you dear friends for all you mean to us and our family.
Annie and Tom
Many of you have asked, like we have, “What can I do to help?” Because the distance is so great, there is little we can do besides pray and send our love. My sisters and I have set up a blog on their behalf where we are putting updates and graciously accepting donations to cover the immense costs that have already been incurred and those in the future, should that be something you would like to do. This is awkward for me, and we are not soliciting assistance but at the same time we gratefully acknowledge the interest and offers that have been made.
I echo my sister, Leah's words, "Each day there seems to be some sort of improvement, even if it’s small. My heart breaks into a million pieces though to see my brother in so much pain and in his current condition. Most of the time, I can keep it together, but there are lots of times where the weight of the situation hits me and the tears come. In Seth’s own words, “It is what it is, and it’s a miracle.”