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In 1999, Ed and Sara Wilkins and their family spent days living in a conference room at then-University Medical Center, the area’s only Level 1 trauma center at the time. The space was close to Sam’s intensive care room – their son – just 27 and severely injured in a terrible traffic accident.
Miles from their home, the Wilkins wouldn’t leave the hospital in case something happened. Though Sam received the best care possible, after 30 plus days of fighting for his life, he lost his battle.
Today, a decade and a half later, Sam’s cousin, Brooke Ashjian wanted to honor his cousin and came up with a great way. While the Wilkins family had a make-shift place to stay so long ago – he knew Terry’s House at Community Regional Medical Center now gives people like his family a place to stay while their loved one heals.
While families are provided a comfortable, affordable and safe place to stay nearby, it’s hard to get around the neighborhood at all hours of the day and night. So Brooke and his wife Gina donated an electric car, so families can be shuttled to the grocery store, a coffee shop or across the street to see their loved one.
Brooke brought the Wilkins family to Terry’s House on July 10 with the pretense of showing them a bench that was named in Sam’s honor. I was able to share a little bit about Sam’s story – not too unlike Terry Richards’ story (the namesake of the House) and how this gift is solving a problem. As the Wilkins family and guests walked across the porch of the house, a shiny red electric car with a bow on top caught their eye. The Wilkins were moved to tears at the gesture.
Thanks to Brooke’s wonderful and very useful gift, Terry’s House families will have better access and a safe way to travel about the area. Thanks Brooke, for creating such a wonderful memory of Sam and at the same time helping so many deserving families at Terry’s House!
Vice President, Corporate Development