When Jeff Colvin, Jeff’s brother Andrew and Jeff’s 3-year-old son Judge went for a hike in early May, it was nothing out of the ordinary. Jeff’s wife Shelly remembered those last few moments as they said their goodbyes, not knowing that a disaster was about to strike.
Later the same day, Shelly posted a desperate plea for prayers online after discovering her son and husband had suffered an accident.
“Sweet friends, please send your prayers and healing energy to Jeff & Judge who were in a hiking accident today,” she shared on May 3. “A tree fell on them while they were escaping the storm. Judge is in icu & jeff is severely injured. I believe in the power of prayer and appreciate all that you can send us.”
“Three year old Judge suffered a severe traumatic brain injury and was in a coma for two weeks, all the while being closely and carefully monitored by the heroes at Monroe Carroll, Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt,” the GoFundMe read.
“Jeff shattered 19 ribs, both of his scapulas, punctured a lung, and grotesquely broke his back (sorry, but that’s how it was described to us), requiring spinal surgery to both fuse his broken vertebrae and to insert a steel rod. It’s nothing short of a miracle that both survived their injuries, and in Jeff’s case, is able to use his legs.”
“Because of the global pandemic, cruelly, neither Jeff nor Judge have been allowed visitors during their hospital stays. I’ve been living with Judge and, mercifully, both hospitals have made a couple of exceptions along the way, so that Jeff could see Judge and I for a short time … but our family having to be apart over the last six weeks with no other visitors has been very tough for us to endure emotionally.”
“Update: Jeff’s nurses brought him in a wheelchair to see his baby boy today!” Shelly wrote on May 5. “He spoke to judge, and I was there — seeing Jeff for the first time since they left for the hike on Sunday. I can’t express the joy that brought me.”
Their friends visited from afar, holding up signs outside the hospital and sending up prayers for the family.
“Miracles are unfolding within these two fragile bodies and I’m praying we’ll be out of the woods soon. This love is overwhelming. I promise we are feeling the power of your prayers, your words of encouragement, acts of kindness, and vibrations of love — large and small — every minute. I don’t know what else to say right now but thank you from the depths of my heart.”
On June 13, Jeff was released from the hospital, and as of Wednesday, Judge was discharged as well. The family — originally from Nashville — has a lot of hard work ahead of them, and is now renting a house in Atlanta near the doctors Jeff and Judge will need to visit as they continue to recover.
There’s no saying exactly how things will turn out for this family, and doctors have cautioned them that Judge “may have life-long complications from the severity of his injuries.”
The family remains hopeful for the future and thankful for the prayers and donations that they have received, both of which will help them move forward and heal.
“But we pray for a complete healing everyday, and we are certain that our family (extended to include you) is still living through an active, fluid, and dynamic miracle, that our precious Judge will recover fully, and will live a full and rich life, forever to be known as the boy that took on a majestic red oak, and lived to tell about it!” Shelly wrote on the GoFundMe page.
“It’s overwhelming to consider the encouragement, love and support we’ve already received, and we’re awestruck by the grace and generosity provided us daily, both in ways we see, and in ways unseen but felt.”
“[O]ur family will be forever indebted to the angels who, we believe, appeared to us even as that tree began to fall, and will stay with us for time eternity.”
So far, the GoFundMe campaign has raised over $158,000 and counting, which will help tremendously with the medical bills and relocation costs.
“Hospital living is over for us,” Shelly shared on social media and the GoFundMe page on Wednesday. “Judge has been discharged, thank you Lord!! Headed to set up house in ATL, begin outpatient work, and be together again! It’s happening!!!”
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