Archive for Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Shouts and Murmurs: After all’s said and done, there’s hope

November 23, 2004

For me, there's another side to the story about Evan Lynch, the 4-year-old Tonganoxie boy injured in a car accident last December.

I was there shortly after the accident occurred.

As a journalist, it's not uncommon to be sent to cover a vehicle accident. This time, though, I was on my way home from McLouth, and happened to arrive at the accident minutes after it occurred.

One car was stopped in the middle of the highway and the other had obviously come to a crashing halt on the side of the road.

No emergency personnel were on scene. I called police dispatcher Mike Vestal with the location and then got out of my car -- without my camera -- to see if there was anything I could do.

Several cars had already stopped to help. One man was directing traffic. Someone else was talking to the driver of the wrecked vehicle that had stopped in the center of the highway.

And another person was taking a child out of the backseat of the car that landed in the ditch. The driver of this car was pinned in the driver's seat. Someone had already covered her with a quilt. It was a steely gray, bitterly cold winter day. A sheet of snow covered the ground, although the highway was clear.

The driver, a young woman, asked when help would get there. I told her soon, and I stayed by her side until emergency workers arrived. It seemed like an eternity, although it was probably only a minute or two.

After everyone was being tended to, I took some photos and left.

It was with disbelief when later I learned that the Lynch's youngest child, Evan, had suffered a spinal cord injury and lost the use of his legs.

For months after that, I'd wake up in the middle of the night almost panic-struck as I'd think about little Evan and his family, and the challenges they'd be facing.

And last Friday I met, for the second time, Cindy Lynch, during an interview at her home.

It was a difficult time for both of us, her recalling the accident that changed their lives. And me, feeling so sad that things couldn't have been different for them.

There are bright spots to the story, however. Cindy, and her husband, Dan, and Evan's older brother, Ryan, tend to Evan and love him with all their hearts.

The family has been supported by other family members and friends. They are devoted to Evan and are doing all they can to make his life better.

And of course there's one big bright spot that can't be overlooked.

It's Evan himself. Evan and his freewheeling go-anywhere and you-can't-catch-me wheelchair. Evan and his ornery smile. Evan and his hide and seek. Evan who prefaces his sentences by saying "Know what?" Evan and his twinkling eyes.

And it's Evan -- who we hope and pray will someday walk again on his own two feet.

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