Let’s talk about Al…

August 17, 2010 by  
Filed under Uncategorized

Angela is a friend of mine.  She was one of my older son’s pre-K teachers, and he has visited her home to play with her sons.  She is a warm and caring person, as teachers usually are, and has three wonderful sons.

Al Real, 2007

Al, 2007

Her middle son, Alfred (everyone calls him Al), was involved in a terrible accident while playing with a friend back on June 7th.  The result was that he received 3rd degree burns over 80% of his body. As a parent, that is one of my worst nightmares.  Having your 8 year old son seriously injured and on the verge of death, with permanent scaring being the best case scenario, can only be described as devastating.

Gwinnett Fire Department Station 2 responded to the 911 call, and Al was rushed to Grady’s Burn Unit.  Widely regarded as one of the best trauma units in the Southeast, his injuries were more than they could handle.  He had to be flown to Cincinnati to the Shiner’s Childrens’ Burn Unit, which is one of the best pediatric burn centers in the world.

The road from then until now has been VERY difficult for Al and his family.  As you can imagine, their lives have been turned inside out.  There are hurdles in many areas we might not have thought of…  His parents want to be by his side while he recovers in Cincinnati, but their jobs and lives are here in Lilburn, GA.  Al’s older brother is in school in Lilburn.  Al’s younger brother needs to be with his mother… as any 10 month old baby would need to be.

Parents, Grandparents, and other family have been with Al constantly for the last two months, rotating and almost commuting from here in the Atlanta area up to southern Ohio.  In the mean time, Al’s grandparents have moved into Al’s family’s home in order to allow his brother to continue at the same school.

Most of the rebarcamp events have found a worthy cause with which to align.  Many participants find that the value of their REBC experience is more than conferences which cost hundreds of dollars.  But, those of us that organize the events aren’t in it to financially profit…  So, when the events do more than break even, we donate the proceeds.

The organizing committee for rebarcamp-Atlanta has chosen Al’s family to help.  They have faced massive burdens emotionally, financially and logistically.  We can’t ease all of their burdens… but we can help.  My friends on Active Rain were part of a successful effort to get the FDA to reverse their decision on allowing a procedure to replace part of his skin with ‘cultured skin’.  Through a letter writing campaign to elected officials, pressure moved the FDA to allow Al’s doctors to use the treatment they felt would be most effective.

We want the #rebcATL experience for attendees to be the best ever.  But we feel that helping Al and his family through a difficult time is also a worthy pursuit.  We thank you for your help.

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