Jaden & Jurians’ Story

Josh and Tenneil Shaffer, Parents

Photo of Jaden and Jurian Jaden and Jurian outside of Bronson Methodist Hospital in May 2022.

On January 27, 2021, our boys Jurian and Jaden were playing outside with our neighbors when suddenly they were in a tragic sledding accident. The driver of the snowmobile that the sled was being pulled behind accidentally increased speed and our boys hit a tree. We heard screams coming from outside and when we ran out, Jaden was flat on his back unconscious and Jurian’s leg was behind him and pointing up. Immediately, 911 was called.

The minutes it took for the ambulance to arrive felt like forever. As soon as the paramedics pulled in, they took Jaden to the Level I Trauma Center at Bronson Methodist Hospital. After securing Jurian’s leg on the stretcher, he was also taken to Bronson Methodist Hospital in a separate ambulance. When we arrived at the hospital, a chaplin and sheriff were waiting for us; at that time, we were unsure of the severity of the boys’ injuries. Quickly, we met with surgeons about a pressure monitor that needed to be inserted into Jaden’s skull. Simultaneously, Jurian was getting prepped for surgery on his leg.

During the boys’ hospital stay at Bronson, everyone was amazing from the nurses to the doctors to the therapists. We had a few Bronson employees who were assigned to help us navigate the hospital as we went back and forth to check on the boys. That meant so much to us as it was difficult to process what was going on. We also had to leave Jurian alone in the hospital while we were switching locations to be with Jaden. It was so difficult to leave him, but his nurse took great care of him while we were gone.

Jurian’s leg was shattered in multiple places. He went through two surgeries and three blood transfusions and remained in the hospital for eight days before returning home. A few weeks later, in March, one of the pins in his legs got infected. We were able to send pictures through Bronson MyChart to his doctor and they scheduled a surgery for us to come in and have a pin removed and the infection cleaned out. During surgery, the infection was worse than anticipated and Jurian was admitted once again, this time for two weeks. While back in the hospital, he had six additional surgeries to clean out the infection. He was then sent home with a PICC line that we changed daily for approximately six weeks and a wound vac that he had on for a couple months.

Jaden was ultimately diagnosed with a severe traumatic brain injury and a broken pelvis. While at Bronson, Jaden was in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) and spent time on a ventilator. After he woke up, Jaden had to relearn how to hold his head up, speak, sit and walk. After his initial recovery at Bronson, he spent eleven weeks in rehabilitation at Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital in Grand Rapids.

Today, Jurian is doing well – we are constantly amazed at how strong he is. He has been through so much yet continues to receive good grades in school and have a positive attitude. At first, he had to go to school with a walker, then crutches and now he is able to walk on his own. This year, he made the varsity golf team as a freshman and is really enjoying his time playing.

Jaden is back in school and has an aide with him. As he transitions to middle school next year, we are hoping he can work towards becoming more independent. He is very happy and can now walk without help. His left arm is not working very well and he has a tremor in his right arm, but we are so proud of how far he has come.

Thank you, Bronson, for everything you did and continue to do for our family!