Meet the Redmon Family
Angie Redmon and her family were guests at the Peachtree Dunwoody Atlanta Ronald McDonald House for five months after her son Eric was involved in a horrific car accident. The Ronald McDonald House gave her family hope and offered healing during a traumatic time in their lives. Read her story.
Eric was born on January 20, 1987, in Commerce, Georgia. Commerce is a very small town where everyone knows everyone and genuinely cares about each other. High school football is everything in Commerce, and growing up Eric could not wait until he could play football for the Commerce Tigers. The time finally came and Eric really enjoyed high school sports. He participated in football, golf, and wrestling. His sophomore year he placed 5th in the state in the 145 pound wrestling weight class. Life was great for Eric, but on June 12, 2003, his life was changed forever.
Eric was in a horrible car accident in which he lost control of his Ford Explorer and flipped it several times. Eric was immediately life-flighted to Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia. At Grady, Eric was rushed into emergency surgery to repair his collapsed lungs and internal bleeding. Following the surgery, he was in a coma for two and a half weeks. The doctors informed us that Eric had incurred a Traumatic Brain Injury. During the accident it seemed that Eric’s brain was deprived of blood and oxygen for less than a second and his brain had been juggled around in his skull; these two things had caused Eric’s brain to swell. At that point it was uncertain what type of recovery Eric would be able to make.
The Redmon family at the groundbreaking ceremony
for the new Atlanta Ronald McDonald House in 2014.
After three weeks at Grady, Eric was transferred to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at Scottish Rite. At this point, Eric was starting to come out of his coma, but was still at a lower level of consciousness and had no control over his body. At Scottish Rite, Eric spent the next two months in therapy everyday trying to learn everything all over again. After two months had passed, the doctors told us to take Eric home. They thought he would progress more in his own environment. Two days after coming home, Eric spoke for the first time since his accident, but the road to recovery had just begun. While at home, Eric had therapists and teachers come to his house daily.
After being home for a while, the doctors decided it was time to bring Eric back to Scottish Rite for more intensive therapy. This time he entered into the day rehab program. At this point, Eric was in a wheel chair and the primary goal was getting him back in school. When Eric started day rehab, we were introduced to the Ronald McDonald House. We were at the House from November, 2003 to March, 2004 – 103 consecutive nights.
Many things were very special to our family during this time. There were other teenagers at the House going through the same thing, so that was very good for Eric. We were there during the holidays and the House was incredible during that time – from gingerbread houses to holiday décor everywhere! Our family loves to decorate at Christmas time, so we felt right at home. I’m grateful that the House allowed me to continue my recovery and form many special relationships with some very special people we still stay in contact with.
In March 2004, Eric graduated from day rehab. He was able to walk with a walker and effectively communicate with others. He was slowly but surely becoming his old self again, and his vibrant personality was coming back more and more each day. Eric was also able to return to Commerce High School. He had an assistant who helped him during the school day, and in the afternoons Eric continued his therapy at home. One of Eric’s biggest challenges with school was his short-term memory. The accident had greatly impaired Eric’s ability to remember things short-term. After much hard work and help from his teachers and friends, Eric was able to graduate with his class on May 20, 2005.
In the years since Eric’s high school graduation, he has continued to gain his life back with a lot of therapy, determination and faith in God. In 2008, Eric opened his own company, Life’s a Party Rentals. He shares his story with youth groups and school clubs and always makes a point to support Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta and Atlanta Ronald McDonald House Charities.
The House provided us with security and a “home-away-from-home” during this horrible storm we were going through. We stayed at the Ronald McDonald House several times during the following years when Eric had difference surgeries. Earlier this year, we made a promise to always visit the Ronald McDonald House and give back to the place that was our home for such a long time.