Piedmont teenager and family deal with long road to recovery
For Garren Janes, the problem isn’t missed school days or trips. The 14-year-old Piedmont Middle student just wants to be able to play again. On February 4, Janes had a seizure and collapsed in the middle of gym class. When he got to the hospital, doctors found Garren had a ruptured arterial venus malformation in his brain, requiring immediate surgery and starting a new journey both for the young football player and his family.
“There’s a lot of hope, looking at how far he’s progressed,” Garren’s dad and Southbrook Church Monroe campus pastor Geoffrey Janes said. “When we look back and see how far he’s come in four months, that encourages us to keep going.”
As a result of the injury, Garren has to relearn how to do things like walk and swallow. An arteriovenous malformation, which is what caused the problem, is an abnormal connection between veins and arteries. Without capillaries to remove carbon dioxide or deliver nutrients to the cells, AVM can cause multiple problems, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders. Four months after being released from the hospital, Garren can push buttons and is learning how to speak again.
To help care for him, the family hired an overnight nurse, as Garren can’t spend nights alone yet. His parents also brought in a therapist two to three times a week, as they could afford it, helping him with exercises themselves at other times. Along the way, the family ran into a few stumbling blocks, in regards to what is or is not covered by their insurance. For example, a hospital type bed for Garren to sleep on is covered, however the air mattress is not. A wheelchair is covered, but not the kind that can roll into the shower, to make it easier to take a bath. Additionally a speech therapist told the family Garren couldn’t qualify for a new treatment to help people with swallowing disorders because he had to completely relearn how to swallow, something that could only be done in rehab.
As the months ticked by, the bills piled up along with frustration, but Pastor Janes said the family has been inspired by the way God used his son’s condition to help other people.
“God put all of this into motion, in a way that so many people’s lives have been touched,” Pastor Janes said. He talked about running into people who said because of Garren, their lives were different. They saw the struggles he went through and made choices to change their own lives. “God has used (this injury) in a powerful way,” Janes said.
Right now, the family is waiting on a rehab bed to become available at the Levine Children’s Hospital Rehabilitation Pavilion. While the family can only afford to bring in therapists two to three times a week at home, Garren would be able to work with them three to four times a day in rehab. The Janes family is on a waiting list and will be notified when a bed opens. May 31, the hospital informed the family they would be discharging a patient in the next few days. As the family completes all the needed paperwork, they’re just waiting on the final approval.
“Right now, we’re waiting for Levine to call,” Pastor Janes said.
Helping the family
To help cover the costs of Garren’s rehab, local residents have put together multiple fundraisers over the last month, with more on the way this weekend. Friday, June 3, Charlotte Golf Links will host Greens 4 Garren, starting at 2 p.m. with a 1pm registration time. On Sunday, Indian Trail frozen yogurt store Just Chillin’, 6580 Old Monroe Road, will donate half the day’s proceeds to the family. Also, Southbrook Church has set up a webpage where people can donate at southbrookchurch.com/janes-family-gift. The gifts are not tax deductible. Anyone willing to give the family a night off from cooking and provide a meal, there’s an email account set up for that as well at MealsForTheJaneses@gmail.com. A schedule has already been organized for people to deliver meals to the family.
“It is so humbling, the number of people who have reached out,” Pastor Janes said. “Why would so many people be so generous?”
Throughout the family’s struggles on this path, Pastor Janes said they were growing spiritually, learning to have faith.
“We trust God as a need arises,” Pastor Janes said. “He will provide as he has.”