Last month, Taylor Janssen, a brother of the University of Michigan Phi Kappa Psi fraternity, dove into Lake Sherwood from his platoon boat without knowing how shallow the water was. The young man broke his neck at one of the low-cervical nerves, his C5 vertebrae. This accident left him partially paralyzed.
Upon hearing the devastating news about the incident, one of Janssen’s fraternity brothers, Seth Johnson, took to crowdfunding platform GoFundMe to raise funds for the college student’s recovery. Within 15 days, the initiative successfully raised nearly $150,000 thanks to over 1,600 supporters.
The campaign’s description reads:
“My name is Seth Johnson and a brother of Phi Kappa Psi at the University of Michigan Ann Arbor and I have created this page in order to help Taylor, our brother in need. On Saturday, July 18th, Taylor Janssen dove to get a volleyball off his pontoon boat on Lake Sherwood into shallow water and broke his neck at the C5 vertebrae. Taylor is currently in intensive care at U of M Hospital, paralyzed but with full mental capacity.
“For those who know Taylor, he is a one of a kind kid. From his father, Mark: “Taylor, who came into this world 3 plus months premature, has always been a fighter. Also, as his mother would say: he is a Janssen and Janssens do not give up.”
“Taylor is one of those guys that is always willing to help anyone in need, so we, the brothers of Phi Kappa Psi Michigan Alpha, have decided that it’s time to help our brother Taylor in his time of need. Our love and support will go a long way in aiding Taylor’s recovery. With your support, we can raise money to make Taylor’s hospital stay more comfortable, as well as provide him with the best care possible during his rehabilitation process.
“With the outpouring of support seen so far, the goal has been raised to $150,000 and we hope this is just the beginning. All proceeds that do not go towards Taylor’s rehab and hospital bills will be donated to the Kathy A. Janssen Foundation, a memorial foundation set up in the loving memory of Taylor’s mother to provide financial assistance to causes that captivated Kathy during her life. For more information on that cause, follow this link: Kathy A Janssen Foundation. The entirety of the funds raised during this campaign will be given to the Janssen family and they will decide how to use the donations in order to best help Taylor.”
Johnson told USA Today:
“[Janssen] said it’s not really the money that’s helping him personally right now; it’s just having so many people say so many kind things and having so much support that he says really does make a difference. So, every time he is given a task, every time he has to go to [physical therapy], he knows he has so many people rooting for him and that really does make the difference for him.
“We’ve gotten so much publicity behind [the campaign]. I’ve started getting emails and phone calls from other kids’ parents — people who have had similar accidents. These things happen and I think they happen more often than we think.”
In regards to Janssens condition, Johnson added:
“He’s doing really well. His oxygen levels have stabilized. Right now, they’re really just working on him being able to clear his lungs on his own and also just [continuing to work] on muscle control. He has feeling in places they didn’t expect, so they really don’t know what his final state will be.
“He’s an amazing kid. He has such high spirits since he got over the initial shock and the emotional stage of realizing his condition. Since then, he’s been so positive and been so focused on getting himself better.”
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