■ By Mary Ann Morris / Editor
It’s a small victory for Richard and Jessica Tusant, whose son, Nick, was hit by a truck nearly six weeks ago, but sometimes a small victory is all that is needed to keep the faith and to keep moving forward. For weeks his condition remained unchanged. But recently Nick has made some significant medical progress.
“Nick has been formally declared ‘stable’ and was moved to another hospital for longer term care,” said Robert Karwin, the family’s Menifee attorney. “He is able to move his right arm on his own and is responding to instructions from the doctors.”
Nick recently had some surgical procedures performed, including a tracheotomy, which enabled the doctors to remove his breathing tube – so now he can breathe on his own. Karwin stated that the tracheotomy has enabled the doctors to not only remove the breathing tube, but also his last chest tube. He improved so much over the weekend that his mother announced that he was stepped down from Kaiser Permanente Fontana’s ICU unit.
“Yay,” said Jessica in a recent Facebook post. “Thank you, God. Thank you everyone for your prayers.”
Nick is getting stronger since the March 24 accident, and making great strides in his improvement. And to prove to everyone just how hard he is fighting, Nick gave his parents a sign Saturday morning, by giving them the thumbs-up sign.
But that does not mean his recovery is all smooth sailing from this point on. His injuries were extensive. “He did suffer a fractured pelvis on the right side, presumably from the impact with the vehicle,” said Karwin. Nick also suffered a fracture on the left side of his face, at the top of the cheek near the ear.”
The traffic collision report was released last week, said Karwin, and did not include any recommendation for criminal prosecution.
The driver, Giles Gervais, 71, of Hemet, told police that he had looked down onto his passenger seat to make sure he had some items with him that he was going to need for an out-of-town trip. He claimed he never saw Nick in the crosswalk. There was one eyewitness, a fellow student, who confirmed that Nick was in the crosswalk at the time of the impact.
Generosity shown by friends and strangers keeps them going
Cards, letters, and drawings sent in by classmates, friends and unknown well wishers alike continue to arrive. Most are themed with his favorite heavy metal bands or emblazoned with characters from his favorite graphic novels.
The community continues to show an outpouring of support, as evidenced by Jessica’s Facebook posts. Anonymous neighbors, who have since been revealed as Nick and Brenda Durrell and Vanessa Duve, have undertaken the task of keeping the Tusant’s front yard looking nice while they participate in Nick’s recovery – a gesture that is greatly appreciated.
Car trouble? No problem. The Tusant’s family car needed a new heater core, so they took it (and the new part) to ManCave Transmissions in Murrieta, where the owner, Kenny, installed it for them – no charge!
“It’s very typical of his character,” said the woman who answered the phone at ManCave, who preferred to remain anonymous. “That’s just who he is.”
Other community members have held fundraisers to assist with the mounting costs of Nick’s hospital stay. The money raised will also allow help pay the day-to-day expenses while the Tusant’s stay close by their son’s hospital bedside, which is now in Fontana, a 76-mile round trip.
Lillian Greenland Salon dedicates 100% of haircut proceeds to Nick’s care
Lillian Greenland Salon in San Jacinto has promised to dedicate 100 percent of the proceeds from haircuts during the month of May to help pay for Nick’s medical bills. Haircuts range in price from $10 for children, $15 for men and $25 to $45 for women’s cuts. Other services are not included in the fundraiser.
“We feel it’s important to donate 100 percent to help,” said Bonnie Martinez, co-owner of the salon. “Just like Nick is giving 100 percent to getting better.”
Others have incorporated fundraisers into their online businesses. Amy Frantz hosted an online LuLaRoe clothing fundraiser for Nick on Sunday, and while the fundraiser didn’t generate as much interest as Frantz thought, she was able to make a donation on Nick’s behalf. Random acts of kindness such as these are not only appreciated, they are needed to show that good people still exist in our valley.
“Richard Tusant and I cannot thank everyone enough for the love and prayers and support from everyone. Please continue to pray for Nick Tusant,” Jessica wrote on her Facebook page. “Everyone is just amazing.”
Community members have called upon the city, demanding a change in the traffic patterns nearby the school to prevent such accidents from continuing to happen. And while newly hired Hemet City Engineer Derek Wieske is on the case – it may take some time to see results.
A GoFundMe account has been set up in his name to assist with medical and rehabilitative expenses. To date, more than $8,100 has been raised. GoFundMe takes 7.9 percent of donations as administrative fees.