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Wish Upon a Star helped family through a trying time

December 20, 2018

On July 20, 2017, Andy Helmer, who was 14 at the time, was climbing a tree, when he fell 40 feet and broke his neck.

He survived, but was paralyzed from the shoulders down.

The accident would change the life of Andy and his family forever. He had to go through intense operations at Doernbecher Children’s Hospital in Portland to save his life.

One year later, J.D. Helmer, Andy’s father, credits Wish Upon A Star for helping to ease their incredible ordeal. Wish Upon A Star, a partnership between Brooke Communications and area businesses, has helped people in need during the holidays for the last 19 years.

The Helmers were one of the people chosen to receive a variety of gifts to help lessen the burden on the family.

“Wish Upon a Star was a huge help,” Helmer said.

The program helped with the wheelchair ramp in the backyard and did some other needed construction inside the house, Helmer said.

The family received an Amazon Alexa, so Andy could ask the voice-activated Amazon device to do certain things for him. They received a meat package from a local ranch and several other things that made life more bearable while they concentrated on Andy and getting him what he needed.

Recently, Andy’s health has been improving and the family has seen some very encouraging signs that has them excited.

“Oh, absolutely, (doctors) told us in the beginning that he would never get off of the ventilator and that he would have to breathe on that the rest of his life,” Helmer said. “Last Saturday marked three weeks that he’s been off the ventilator.”

As of Tuesday, Andy was expected to have his tracheostomy tube removed.

Not only that, but now Andy is starting to get movements in his legs, left arm, stomach and back.

The family is cautiously optimistic, but they are getting more hopeful every day.

They are encouraged by the progress their son is making and thankful to Wish Upon A Star, and everyone else who has helped.

A GoFundMe page was set up for Andy Helmer in the name of “Andy’s Medical Expenses” to help with medical bills that have piled up. As of Wednesday, the account had raised over $6,700.

Editor’s Note: Brooke Communications and The News-Review are owned by the same company, Lotus Media Group.

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