This is a rather unique post: it’s a bit of a tear-jerker, but at the same time, it’s gross. It’s really gross. Like, if you’re about to eat or have eaten recently, just go here for a while. We’ll understand. If you’re ready to press on, then… buckle up.
Jeff Kerr, the jack man (hush) for Martin Truex Jr.’s car in NASCAR, recently won $10,000 by posting the best individual jack time (I said HUSH) at the pit crew competition for the Sprint Cup Series. Every penny of that $10,000 went not to Kerr, but rather the family of four-year-old Preston Loyd. When you hear why, you might be tempted to pony up a bit as well.
Preston was badly injured in late April in a freak accident involving his grandfather and - brace yourself - a riding lawnmower. Oh, it gets worse. Preston had just run out the back door of the house to talk to his grandfather; his grandfather never even saw him as he backed the lawnmower over the young boy. The scene was horrific:
He lost all ribs on his left side, along with his stomach, spleen and left kidney. His liver was lacerated. His arm was cut badly. Preston was airlifted to Charlotte Medical Center, and upon arrival the trauma surgeon gave the boy less than a 50 percent chance of survival.
Along with that kind of damage, of course, comes an unbelievable amount of blood loss; this is the more immediate danger to a person’s life in the case of such severe trauma.To that end, this horrific quote from Kevin Clark, a volunteer fireman who was the first at the scene:
”I went in and the grandfather was white, white. Preston was white, white, too,” Clark said. “It was a terrible injury. In all my years of experience, a young child doesn’t have that much blood. My opinion is he didn’t have anything left in him.”
Okay, enough with the horror stories. Somehow, through a 32-day coma, the young boy survived the ordeal; now comes the long, arduous, expensive task of healing. Fortunately, that’s where Kerr stepped in. Kerr and his family attend the same church as the Loyds, so word spread quickly. Lo and behold, Kerr vowed to win the pit crew skills competition and donate the money. Lo and behold, that’s exactly what he did.
Such generosity, along with (obviously) smaller gifts from fellow NASCAR members and charitable strangers, is helping the family along as Preston recovers. As for that recovery, “normal” is on a wholly different scale at this point; he’s still got a mountain of rehab and plastic surgery in front of him, after all. But at the same time, he’s making progress with cognitive recovery, and anyone with a relatively well-functioning brain and two good legs has a shot at a good, productive life.