homepage logo

Teen makes progress while support pours in

By Staff | Aug 11, 2008

Collin Jacobson

Hope and faith. They have been prevalent for the family of a Bricelyn teen shot in the head two weeks ago.

Collin Jacobson, 15, was with his friend, Dan Stallkamp, 18, at the Stallkamp residence July 22 when Collin suffered a gunshot wound to the head. He was airlifted to St. Marys Hospital in Rochester, where he remains. The details of the accident are under investigation.

Since the incident, an outpouring of support has come from across the area and beyond. Much of it in the form of prayer and good wishes.

The Jacobson family has been experiencing “little miracles” with Collin in the hospital. He was responding to touch and giving “thumbs up” signs several days after the accident. He has been able to lift his leg, and last week doctors had him sitting up.

On Monday, the family experienced the biggest miracle yet. Collin spoke for the first time since the accident. The first thing he said was, “I want to go home.”

“It’s like when your baby talks for the first time,” said Collin’s mother, Kim Jacobson. “It was exciting. This is just multiplied by 10. It was music to my ears. We kept praying his speech would be restored. It’s getting easier to wake up each day and face the day.”

Even though Collin can speak, it is slurred. Kim said that’s frustrating for Collin since they have to ask him to repeat himself.

“We can understand yes and no, stop and don’t,” Kim said. “They did a test on him today to see if there are seven days in the month, Do you live in New York? Just simple stuff like that. He knows he had an accident but he doesn’t know what.”

Also on Monday, physical therapists had him standing for 10 seconds. When Collin came into the hospital, the right side of his body was paralyzed. Kim said her son doesn’t really like standing up. Or sitting up.

“He’s getting more frustrated as well — more uncomfortable,” she said. “His head hurts. Just the frustration in his face and the sadness in his eyes is really hard to watch. I don’t think he’s had any concept of how long he’s been here. We are just amazed at his progress.”

Kim anticipates Collin being moved to a regular floor of the hospital, instead of neurology, next week. He also will begin rehabilitation once he can handle three hours of speech, physical and occupational therapy per day.

Kim said Collin needs to have the bone flap put back in place over the left side of his head. She said the bullet will not be taken out, as it could cause more damage that way.

A prayer vigil was held at Trinity Lutheran Church in Blue Earth on Tuesday night, beginning at 4:30 p.m. – about the time emergency services were called on the day of the accident. Kim is the youth director of the church. The vigil continued through 9:30 p.m., and dozens came to pray for the teen. Many signed up in advance in 15-minute increments, so someone would be praying for the Jacobson family throughout.

Sonja Willmert of Elmore came to pray as a church member and family friend. She had been to Rochester to see the family on Sunday.

“Kim had talked about (the vigil),” Willmert said. “It was something we could do. We all want to do something. We just thought it was a really good idea.”

The youth of the church organized the vigil.

On Sat-urday, Aug. 9, there was a group prayer vigil at the Oswald residence in Frost. Every year, area youth groups have a retreat with games, prayer, fun and food. This year, the event was open to youth and adults and was in honor of Collin, with a prayer vigil and midnight worship service.

Pastor Steve Bohling of Trinity Lutheran said the Jacobsons wanted to paint their house this summer. Since they will be unable, a group from Wells has volunteered. Trinity will supply food for them.

“There’s just a lot of people asking and wondering what they can do to help,” Bohling said.

Steve Jacobson, Collin’s father, and Ashley Jacobson, his sister, along with Kim have spent each night sleeping in the waiting room of the hospital. Since the day they arrived at the hospital, they’ve had about 300 visitors, Kim said. The continuous support is overwhelming and humbling for the family.

“It’s what’s getting us through,” Kim said. “There are families here from other states and other countries that don’t have people stopping, that don’t have the Web site. It’s just amazing.”

Kim set up a CaringBridge Web page at www.caringbridge.org/visit/collinjacobson <http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/collinjacobson> the day after the shooting. The Web site is basically a blog for the family to write about the changes Collin is going through, and gives others the opportunity to leave messages. There have been more than 28,000 views and nearly 900 comments on the page.

Collin’s classmates are having bracelets made that say “Collin’s Hope.” They originally planned on making 500, but upped the number to 1,000 because of interest.

Other support includes an account for Collin that was made at First Bank in Blue Earth for donations. They also can be made at Electric Service Company and Thrivent Financial, both in Blue Earth.

Linda Steinhauer of Thrivent is helping organize a fund-raiser for the family. A planning meeting is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Aug. 19 at the Thrivent office in Blue Earth. A tentative date for the fund-raiser is Sept. 27.