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A Father Son Journey

It was a sunny evening in May when Roger and Mary LeBlanc got a call telling them that their son had been in a serious car accident. Their daughter-in-law did not survive and their son, Matthew, sustained a severe head injury. Roger and Mary stayed with Matthew for two months at a hospital in Wisconsin where the accident occurred. They had planned to continue caring for him at their home in Boston, but Matthew wanted to return to his life in Maryland. Although he was recovering, he wasn’t ready to be on his own. The Hackerman-Patz House gave Dad and Matthew a supportive home away-from-home near the hospital while they transitioned through a difficult time.

Being at the Hackerman-Patz house allowed me to take care of Matt 100 percent of the time and it increased the pace of his recovery. When we got here, Matt had two to three medical appointments a day. At that point he couldn’t walk across the street by himself. He had about 30 minutes of energy and he needed about six hours of rest to get to the next appointment. He would wake up, walk to an appointment with me, come back and go to bed. Then he’d get up, eat a meal and go to another appointment.

There’s no way we could have made it through the day without the Hackerman-Patz house—without that ability to literally walk across the street to make that happen. We would have had to stretch out the appointments, because he couldn’t physically do it. It’s an incredibly reasonable price, too.

Being at the Hackerman-Patz house was unbelievable and the volunteer staff treated us like gold. It was like being in a second home. From a family standpoint, to be able to step out of the room and sit and watch TV and write a letter, to do laundry, these are the things you take for granted.

After two weeks of staying in the House, we moved into Matt’s apartment and started going to appointments from there. It’s been about nine months now, and his mental capacity and his cognitive skills are 100 percent now. You’d never know he has a big piece of plastic in his head holding his skull together. It’s probably going to take him another year before he builds up his stamina, but he’s back to work about six hours a day.

I can’t say enough good things about the Hackerman-Patz house, but even more so, it’s indicative of what the hospital thinks is important. That they allow and support a Hackerman-Patz to be built is one of the best reasons why Matt’s going to recover.

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