- Posted August 10, 2013 by
Buffalo, NY 14222
14YO Boy in the Battle of His Life
July 30, 2013 should have been just another day at the track for 14 year-old Jake Miller, a motocross enthusiast. He was practicing his sport while his parents, Debbie and Tim Miller and 1 year-old little brother Blake watched on. Area 51 in Batavia, NY is the track he’s been riding since he started at age 7. When he came up to a familiar jump that he’s taken hundreds of times in the past seven years of riding, he faltered. His parents wondered why he kept up the approach, when it was clear he didn’t have the usual speed and stability needed for this jump. There was nothing special about the track, the day or the situation, other than this experienced rider seemed to have something else going on. It looked like he might have gone limp on one side. His speed wasn’t fast enough. With what seemed like a slow-motion crisis in the making, with his parents and motocross friends watching helplessly, Jake crashed his bike into the side of the jump. He was airlifted to Women and Children’s Hospital and underwent emergency brain surgery to stop the bleeding in his brain.
Three surgeries and 22 days later, Jake remains in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit in the hospital. He is in an induced coma and has battled pnemonia and a staff infection. His surgeons believe an aneurysm may have caused the crash and not the other way around. It’s hard to say if they ever will know for sure, or if it even matters. The WNY community is focused on his recovery and hopes to see him put this crisis behind him, resuming his full life as usual.
His parents hang on every word from the surgeons overseeing his care and post every update on his Caring Bridge website so that the hundreds of friends and families who know Jake can follow his progress. Debbie posts his ups and downs and updates everyone on keeping his brain swelling numbers below 15. Recently, the coma medication was reduced and his parents saw him move his shoulders and cough, for the first time since the accident.
“I wanted to say thank you for all the love and support again! Thank you to our family, to our friends, to hockey moms, to motocross families, to strangers! This would be a much more difficult road without you!,” writes Debbie Miller this morning on Jake’s Caring Bridge Journal. Her journal is full of hope and information, and unfortunately, lots of ups and downs. She will tell you about her hopes and her prayers. And how much she loves Jake. And how amazed she is at the support the family is receiving right now.
Jake is also a hockey player, a goalie to be exact. He plays for the 1999 Buffalo Bisons and the Frontier Middle School’s modified team in Hamburg, NY. At some point or another, most 14 year-old hockey players in the Buffalo area have competed with Jake. Hockey families and motocross families are tight-knit groups of people, extended families for sure. It seems that most people in Buffalo, NY have heard about Jake’s situation by now. A vigil was held for him on August 2, 2013 in JFK Park in Hamburg, NY. About a hundred soon-to-be ninth graders and their families attended. Facebook pages and a donation site were created. Classmates are selling bracelets and t-shirts. A whole community, feeling helpless, is showing their support for Jake and his family in a multitude of ways. We are all just waiting and praying that this fun-loving young man will pull through. We receive text messages to alert us that the Millers have posted new information about his condition. And we carry Jake with us throughout our day. We anticipate good news, always.
Next summer, I imagine writing about his full-recovery and sharing news about his most recent athletic accomplishments. I don’t see this impacting him for the long-haul. No one can think that way right now. We all want Jake back where he belongs, on the track, on the ice and goofing around with his buddies. That’s exactly where he belongs and we all hold on to the belief that he’s going to be back to his regular life before we know it.
If you are interested in following Jake’s story as it unfolds, you can find updates here
You can send him cards in the hospital here
c/o Women and Children’s Hospital PICU
219 Bryant St Buffalo, NY 14222
Donations for the family are being accepted here (note: Caring Bridge donations do not go to the family)
You can join his Facebook pages here