Editor's Note: This is an article from the series "Helping Hands" by Asbury Park Press, in which we publish the stories of those in need and ask our readers to provide all possible help. Scroll to the bottom of the story for more information on this initiative.
TOMS RIVER – Megan Franzoso stood up and cautiously crossed the living room of her parents' house.
This is a progress for someone who has spent two weeks in intensive care.
"The road has been long, but everything is going well," said the 28-year-old. His speech was stopped but audible. "I can brush my hair."
In September, Berkeley's emergency medical technician had a severe allergic reaction to the medications she was taking for benign heart disease. She went into cardiac arrest and suffered a major pain attack. The resulting hypoxia caused brain damage.
ALSO: The Berkeley family of a severely disabled baby needs support
WATCH: Megan walks and discusses her recovery in the video at the top of this story.
At one point, the prognosis was so dark that the whole family had gathered at the bedside of his hospital. But Franzoso is a fighter. Now she is learning to live again. The small triumphs begin to add up: she can feed herself and change herself, even if her arms do not have all the amplitude of her movements.
"She went from looking in a dead space to a place where I can talk and joke with her now," said younger sister Michele Franzoso. "It's incredible. I do not know if I could do what she does. "
A big obstacle is waiting for us. The health insurance policy based on Megan's employment ends on February 28. The rest of her rehabilitation – at least a year, maybe two years – and her medications will cost more than $ 1,000 a month. His parents could end up with a $ 59,000 bill for emergency helicopter transportation from the community medical center to Temple University's cardiology ward.
After helping countless people for several years as a first speaker, Megan Franzoso needs help.
A first dedicated speaker
Megan's grandparents, Joseph and Jane Geoghegan, founded Silverton First Aid in 1964. She began volunteering at the age of 16. Megan and her EMT partner Ashley Weisbrot responded to the call of an elderly woman who had fallen and could no longer get up. The heat was stifling in the house; the air conditioning of the woman was down.
"They went to an appliance store just after leaving his house and bought him a window air conditioner," said Kevin Geoghegan, director of Silverton First Aid, Megan's uncle.
"Helping people is in his blood," said Karin DiMichele, Berkeley police chief. Berkeley hired Megan as a full-time EMT four years ago.
"A wonderful child," DiMichele said. "Good employee. Devoted."
Although Franzoso's health insurance was covered by Berkeley, she had no long-term disability insurance. The other Township employees donated enough sick time to spend in February, but since she can not return to work, she will switch to a COBRA policy. His medical expenses will increase. Then there is the helicopter bill, which was rejected by the insurance company.
"We are trying to fight and make money," said Debbie Franzoso, mom.
In the meantime, a GoFundMe was launched and a series of fundraising events were organized, raising $ 30,000. It's a start.
"We are very grateful for all that people have done," said Debbie Franzoso. "The answer was overwhelming."
Go from the front
Megan's catch remains weak and her short-term memory is uneven, but breakthroughs continue. Recently, she left the two family dogs in the yard. It seems simple. This was not the case.
"It was difficult," she said of her recovery, "but my family helps me.
His next goal is to drive.
"I'm ready," she says.
"Ocean County is not ready," said his father, Michael Franzoso, with a chuckle.
Until further notice, Megan will continue her re-education sessions three times a week for three hours at Bancroft NeuroRehab in Brick.
Its ultimate goal: to return to work as first responder.
"I like helping people," she said.
Donations to Megan Franzoso can be collected on her GoFundMe page – called "Megan Help" – or in person at any TD Bank (ask for the Megan Franzoso Fund).
Carino's Corner appears on Monday in the Asbury Park Press. Contact Jerry at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About & # 39; Helping Hands & # 39;
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Send an e-mail to Regional Director of Engagement, Alesha Williams Boyd, at email@example.com, with the subject line "Helping Hands" to help connect people in need with the help they need.