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Ewart Family Continues Road To Recovery

The Ewart family continues on their road to recovery after the devastating fire that destroyed their Valencia home on December 20, 2005. Six family members were in the house at the time, three were seriously injured and sent to the Grossman Burn Center.  David and Michael Ewart were in the most serious condition. David was the final family member to be released from the Grossman Burn Center, weeks after the fire. Since the fire, Santa Clarita has jumped in to assist as the Ewart’s recover.  This is the latest update courtesy of neighbors, Josy and Steve Block.

 

 

 

It's hard to believe that it is has not even been 6 months since the fire raced through the Ewart's home.  They have made huge strides that are nothing short of miraculous!! 

 

We know a lot of people are under the assumption that because the family is getting back on their feet that everything is ok, and there is no longer a financial need.  Just to give you a glimpse of some of the expenses, the hospital bill for Michael is in excess of $300,000 (after the insurance has paid their portion).   This does not include the doctor's bills, physical therapy bills, etc.  David's hospital bills are about the same amount.  Hugh's are slightly less. The insurance company is expected to pay 70% of the hospital bills, but is denying 100% coverage because the Grossman Burn Center is a "non-network" hospital.  The family is working on an appeal.  Michael's physical therapy sessions are no longer covered under their insurance.  As you can imagine, it is very stressful to be sitting on such huge bills. 

We have raised approximately $225,000  (with about $44,000 of that benefiting the Baker family), but we still have a long way to go.  It will cost hundreds of thousands of dollars (after the insurance) to rebuild the house and replace the contents.  In the best case scenario, IF the insurance picks up 100% of the coverage (for the hospital), that would leave a need of an estimated $500,000 more to be raised.  In the worst case scenario, the need could potentially rise several hundred thousand above that amount. 

We are wondering if there are any attorneys out there that specialize in the medical area that would be willing to offer some pro bono assistance to the family.  If so, please contact us at your soonest convenience. (thank you)

For accounting purposes, we will be closing the Wells Fargo Ewart Catastrophe Fund at the end of this month (June 30th).  All funds will be transferred to a Ewart Benefit Account at the Environment of People Foundation (a 501 ( c ) 3 non-profit organization).  You will still be able to make donations, however, instead of doing so at the bank, you may do so via the website (there is a link if you go to www.EwartAid.org and click on donations - you can do so at any time - credit cards & pay pal are accepted).  If you are sending a donation check to the EOPF, be sure to write, "EWART" in the memo line to insure that your donation goes to the right place.  Checks can be mailed to:  Environment of People Foundation, 12001 Ventura Blvd., 5th Floor, Studio City, CA 91604. 

You will notice that we haven't been listing any upcoming events...this is because we wanted to get a better idea of where we stand, relative to the needs of the family.  Now that we have a better idea, we will begin to plan some future events to raise more funds.  We welcome your ideas and assistance!  As always, we thank you for your continued prayers and support.

MICHAEL has finally received most of his pressure garments.  He has a vest, sleeves, and gloves.  Everything is separated to try and make it easier to get on his bent arms.  The right arm and glove do not fit yet, but everything else does.  He is using a temporary pressure garment on his right arm.  It is amazing the amount of progress he has made in the last few weeks since wearing the garments.  The scars have softened considerably and he is gaining movement in his arms.  He had his first series of cortisone shots on Monday (June 5th) at the Burn Center.  He was very nervous about being put under general anesthesia again, but Dr. Grossman was with him every step of the way and Michael did just fine.  He was a little sore the next day, but other than that is doing very well.  He will have another series of shots in 3-4 weeks and then will have the Z-plasty surgery sometime after that.
Michael is happy to be finished with school, but will probably take some courses at COC this summer.  Fred, Michael, Jonathan, Heather & Jacqui spent last weekend at a Family Camp for Burn Survivors.  They all had a wonderful time!  It was amazing to watch the change in Michael.  He met so many wonderful people and they all could relate to each other and support each other.  The family hadn't seen him that happy since before the fire.  He met two incredible young men, Chris James (burned in chemistry experiment at Hart High) and Brian, who Michael really bonded with.  They were so supportive of Michael and really encouraged him to participate in everything.

Michael was a little tentative at first, but ended up climbing on the ropes course, swimming, racing around the go-kart track and even playing softball.  It was really amazing to see him climb up to the top of a telephone pole, balance himself up at the top and then jump off (on a harness with a zip-line).  The entire time he had not only us, but also Chris, Brian, and his 6-year old shadow, Vitali, cheering him on.  Vitali is the grandson of Helena - camp nurse and head nurse at the Grossman Burn Center.  He attached himself to Michael on the first day and never let go until we were driving home!!!!  As great as the ropes course was, Jacqui's favorite moment was watching Michael play softball for the first time.  He did awesome.  He fielded the ball - tagged someone out, pitched, and even had a perfect bunt that surprised everyone - especially Fred who was pitching against him.  He had a great check-swing hit also, but hurt himself a little when he tried to attempt a full swing the next time up at bat.  Once again he had his buddies cheering him on.  They (Chris & Brian) are really both remarkable young men.  All in all it was a great experience for the family, but especially for Michael.

On Tuesday, Michael went to swim practice!!!! He was all decked out in his full length swim suit, gloves, and tons of sunscreen.  Jacqui thought he should maybe start out with 30 minutes, but he insisted on staying for the entire practice.  He did great.  He can do a pretty good breast stroke and he used the kickboard for the other strokes.  This should be really good for healing his lungs.  Emotionally, it is great because it is the first of his regular activities that he has been able to get back to.

Although they repeatedly applied tons of sunscreen, unfortunately, Michaels face & neck received a pretty bad sunburn during the practice.  This is a disappointment.  He is thinking about practicing at night...but where's the fun in that?  Any swimmers out there want to practice with Michael at night (or late afternoon)?

Overall, Fred & Jacqui are thrilled with Michael's progress over the last few weeks.  He still has a long way to go, but he just took some very big steps!!!!

DAVID is continuing with his physical therapy sessions, and has been doing a good job of wearing his pressure garments.  He has some fabulous news to report...he has been able to start working again!!!  Over the course of the last week, he has worked on 3 movies!!  This is such a blessing because it was such an unknown entity - whether he'd be able to work again...and when.  We know you join us in wishing David much success as he re-enters the workforce.

 

David has been the "victim" of some great scheming by his friends in the PTA and other entities who have tricked him into attending events where he has been presented with some well-deserved awards.  He received a Heart of the Community award from the Santa Clarita Council PTA for demonstrating that "Adversity doesn't create character...it reveals it."  This says it all!  A couple of days later, he received a Distinguished Service Award from the LA District Church of the Nazarene for his unselfish sharing of his musical talent.

We also want to mention that Mary and Dave Berg, who were so instrumental in putting together the Jay Leno benefit were presented with a Community Service award at the SCV Council PTA Presidents' Installation dinner earlier this week!!  Let's hear a round of applause for their tireless efforts!!!

There is one more couple that really needs to be mentioned here.  Leslie and Greg Garman have been David's rock!  They have been so supportive throughout this whole ordeal, that we just had to acknowledge their kindness in going way above & beyond the call of duty.  They have served as David's sounding board, and have been there every step of the way.  They visited David in the hospital just about every day.  They are the voice of reason when David is faced with challenging questions.  They have been there for him in ways that exemplify the true meaning of love & friendship.  They have supported him through the "dark" times and have celebrated through the good times. 

Words cannot express the thanks for having such pillars of society beside you when you need them most.  Their devotion is worthy of commendation!

David's burned home has now been completely cleared of the debris from the razing.  He was hoping to be able to keep the existing foundation and just build upon that.  However, he couldn't find a contractor in town that would agree with keeping the foundation.  They all said he needed to remove the foundation and start with a fresh, new one.  So, the work crews came back and cleared the foundation as well. 

The Architect is working with the City to see if the engineers/building inspector will accept a 1000 psf (per square foot) weight bearing value on the soil to streamline the building process.  This can potentially save two months in grading & soil analysis.