Disabled Veteran Starts GO FUND ME For Surgery, VA MIA
It was 2004. Specialist Brandon Powell was 2 months into his tour of duty in Iraq, as a member of 3rd brigade, 21st infantry-regiment striker brigade. “I had no idea what was going to happen, no idea what my future held,” he tells Portland based KOIN 6 news. What happened was a sniper round, presumably from a Taliban backed insurgent, which ripped through Powell’s throat and his C4 vertebrae.
He was rushed into surgery, and while he survived, he is paralyzed from the neck down, and now uses a wheelchair to get around. A special chin based joy stick allows him to operate the wheelchair, and “brain fingers” to use a computer, which are notes attached above the eye that translates small muscle movements into keystrokes.
As the Veterans Affairs seems to be missing in action, Powell, and his childhood best friend, Dustin Troupe, have taken to Go Fund Me to raise funds for an experimental surgery. The operation has been quoted at $92,000, plus airfare and other accommodations, so they are trying to raise $100,000. Apparently the surgery is only available in China.
“In 2004 while deployed in Iraq with the 3rd brigade 21 infantry regiment, I was shot by a sniper through the neck leaving me paralyzed from the shoulders down. since then I have made little progress in regaining any of my former mobility.
There is now a treatment that I can receive called “epidural stimulation” that could help me regain some of my former mobilty and indepenace, but the surgery is costly and I need help raising the funds to pay for the surgery.”
“I’d love to at least get functionality of my hands back…. some people are getting to walk again… I can’t even imagine, drive a car maybe. Wow.”
They are also putting together a benefit concert in Vancouver, Washington, just across the Columbia river from Portland. Here’s the event page for the concert.
As of the writing of this article, early Monday morning, they’ve raised $795 on the Go Fund Me page.