As tough and winding as the road has been for Jaden Marchand’s family over the past seven months, his mom says they’ve been greatly touched by the community’s love and compassion.
“The outpouring of support for Jaden has been amazing and absolutely humbling to us and our family,” Jen Marchand says during a phone interview from Toronto where her family has rented a condo to be near their son as he remains in care.
“But it’s completely changed our family.”
Jaden Marchand, 22, was electrocuted while laying fibre-optic cable on Concession 13 in Tiny for an area company June 24. It was his fourth day on the job.
He was rushed by air ambulance to Sunnybrook Hospital where he fought for his life. And after being in a coma for a time, Jaden is conscious, out of ICU and working towards recovery at Sunnybrook's Reactivation Care Centre.
“He’s considered to be ‘medically stable’ and is completely breathing on his own,” Marchand says.
And on a further positive note, Marchand says she can see a day when Jaden will be able to come home, something the family was able to enjoy for three days over the Christmas holidays.
“He’s slowly progressing,” she says. “We’re still in the recovery process. He’s starting to make sounds, but hasn’t formed any words yet unfortunately. We're crossing our fingers that Jaden will be able to pronounce those sounds into words because he's hearing his voice."
Marchand notes they’re in the process of starting to renovate their home so that Jaden will be able to live there with the medical equipment he will need to continue his rehabilitation.
“We’re hoping Jaden has a good recovery,” she says, adding they’re also investigating other innovative programs that could help Jaden, including stem-cell therapy in the United States. “But it’s very, very expensive. We’re also looking at another therapy in Texas called red-light therapy.”
The family, which also includes father Mike and brother Evan, resides in Lafontaine.
And because Jaden was injured at work, medical costs and therapy sessions as well as the family’s parking and mileage costs are paid by the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board rather than OHIP.
As it stands now, one of the Marchands is always at the hospital from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. with a caregiver the family must pay out of its own pocket ensuring Jaden’s needs are met for the other 12 hours.
“It’s hard some days, but we’re living one day at a time," Marchand says. "You can just see that things are starting to connect slowly, but surely.
"It's going to be an extremely long journey, but we know that Jaden is a fighter and he chose to come back to us and he chose to stay with us so we have all the hope and faith that will happen."
For the time being, however, Evan is also in Toronto most of the time and now aspires to be a physiotherapist after witnessing firsthand the support Jaden has received from a dedicated team of occupational, speech and physical therapists.
And again, Jen Marchand reiterates how much the community has done to help out her family, including Springwater Township which allowed her to take a leave of absence to care for her son.
A fundraising campaign established by family friend Lee-Ann Visser has raised nearly $50,000 with contributions going towards helping the family deal with mounting food, lodging and incidental costs while they remain away from home.
As well, Marchand points out the business community has helped immensely, including initiatives by churches and other organizations as well as Asselin Insurance in Penetanguishene and Beauty Brows by Li in Cookstown, which has contributed a portion of its sales to the family.
Jaden Marchand attended École Ste-Croix in Lafontaine, James Keating Elementary School in Penetanguishene and St. Theresa’s Catholic High School in Midland.
Marchand says they’ve been overwhelmed by the level of support they’ve received from friends, family and people they’ve never met, but who have been touched by the Jaden’s story.
“The whole community has been supportive, even little Jaden’s friends from when he was in elementary school. It’s very heartwarming.
“We have the best community in Midland, Penetanguishene and Tiny Township.”