02/12/09 — Boy in coma after being hit by car

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Boy in coma after being hit by car

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on February 12, 2009 1:46 PM

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Taylor Gambrel, a seventh-grader at Eastern Wayne Middle School, was struck by a car while riding his bicycle near his home.

Cynthia and Mark Gambrel are praying for a miracle.

And they believe they're going to get it.

But more than two weeks ago, doctors did not give them much hope when they spoke with the family about Taylor, 12, who had just gone through surgery after being struck by a car while riding his bicycle.

The accident happened late Monday afternoon, Jan. 26.

The couple had gone out for groceries. At home with his three brothers -- Brandon, 14, Conner, 11, and Ed, 5 -- and grandmother Clara Combs, Taylor decided to go outside by himself.

"We had told him again and again, there's too much traffic on this road, don't go near the road," Mrs. Gambrel said about Powell Road, in the Elroy community off U.S. 70 East. "But he jumped on his bicycle and was going down the road.

"From what we understand, he was on the right side of the road -- we live on the left -- and he was turning into our driveway. The guy driving behind him happened to pass him and didn't know he was turning, and Taylor got hit."

Fortunately, another driver witnessed the accident and immediately called 911, Mrs. Gambrel said.

"They took him to Wayne Memorial Hospital and as soon as they got him there, they airlifted him to Pitt (in Greenville), where he immediately went into surgery."

Hours later, around 11 p.m., the family received the grave news.

"(Doctors) told us, 'We don't expect him to live past 12-24 hours,'" Mrs. Gambrel said. "They didn't give him but a 1 percent chance of survival and if he was to wake up, he'd probably be severely brain-damaged because they did have to remove a small part of the front part of his brain. That was the part of the brain for thinking and complicated speech, so even if he does wake up, he'll be in really bad shape."

The Gambrels sought a higher authority.

"We have been told by God, and it's been confirmed, that he's going to be all right," she said. "It's now been two weeks and he's made really good progress."

For the first week, the family had a room at Ronald McDonald House. Now the parents travel back and forth each day. Their other children returned to school this week.

While Taylor still lies in a coma, faith sustains his family.

"We have had so many people donate food, money, gas cards, food cards. They have actually all been very wonderful," Mrs. Gambrel said. "We haven't wanted or needed for anything. We're very thankful for everybody that's already donated. It's been very helpful."

Right now, they can't worry about money -- Mrs. Gambrel cleans houses, while her husband has been staying home with the children -- and are thankful for Medicaid.

"We take it day by day," Mrs. Gambrel said. "We go up there, the boys have been up there a week ago. They trust us. They know that if we tell them everything's going good, they kind of handle it. Brandon will send out e-mails. We'll take phone calls at the hospital, people stop by.

"I just have this peace of God. He's calmed us, He's strengthened me and we're getting through it. We go up there every day expecting to hear something good and so far, he's done nothing but go up that scale."

Her husband has also been strong throughout the ordeal, taking a wait-and-see approach.

"It's just very slow," he said today. "The swelling's gone down a lot in his face. But he's doing great. I mean, still in very serious condition but compared to what they said about not living past the first 12-24 hours, he's doing very good. Every day it seems like he does something they didn't expect him to do."

Over the next three weeks, Taylor should be getting out of ICU, his dad said, and doing more rehabilitative and physical therapies.

It helps to have others praying with them for a miracle, Mrs. Gambrel said. In addition to their church -- The Edge Ministries -- she said they have received encouragement from people in Budapest, New York, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Texas.

"We're hearing from people everywhere," she said. "Brandon is on the computer, while his grandmother is on the phone. It went out so fast, we had so many responses from people, praying for (Taylor)."

Anyone wishing to send notes and cards can mail them to the family at 569 Powell Road, Goldsboro, N.C. 27534.