There was no warning. No signs.
One minute, 13-year-old Jacob Mogan was playing in a park, and the next, he was paralyzed from his midsection to his toes. The Gulf Shores Middle School student's life would never be the same, but through it all, …
There was no warning. No signs.
One minute, 13-year-old Jacob Mogan was playing in a park, and the next, he was paralyzed from his midsection to his toes. The Gulf Shores Middle School student's life would never be the same, but through it all, he has stayed positive and inspires his family and friends to keep hoping for the best.
May 29, Jacob had a stroke on his spinal cord — a rare occurrence — and doctors still aren't sure what caused it. But at the Shepherd Center in Atlanta, Jacob, his father Matt and mother Belinda have been working with some of the best doctors and physical therapists in the world, who are impressed with Jacob's work ethic.
“While they can't make guarantees, they have given us hope,” Matt says. “Patience is the hardest thing, because you want it all to go away as quickly as possible.”
Jacob was recently discharged into the day program at Shepherd Center. He will still stay on the hospital's campus, but he'll be focusing more on physical training and workouts in the hopes of making his muscles stronger and possibly even getting his nerves to re-fire, Matt says.
“The spinal cord doesn't rejuvenate, but it does have a way of picking back up,” Matt says. “It does have kind of a memory, kind of like the brain does.” The day program will last about three weeks, and there could be further treatment afterward.
Jacob, who enjoyed playing football for Gulf Shores Middle School, knows future is unpredictable, but he has remained upbeat. Matt says Jacob's humor and smiles keep everyone going.
“He's made it easy on us to go through this process,” Matt says. “He's really popular with his physical therapists and his peers. On his floor, 90 percent of the patients are his age, and they all work out together. Somehow, he's still a teenager — still spunky, has a great sense of humor and has managed to stay very calm and stable through this whole thing. If it happened to me, I would have a meltdown here or there.”
When the Gulf Shores community learned about Jacob's condition, people immediately began asking how they could help. Matt and Belinda were flooded with support, but they weren't sure how to tell people to help.
“It started immediately with my office, Re-max of Gulf Shores, especially Kevin Corcoran,” Matt says. “We were dealing with this unknown situation, having hiccups with insurance during the transfer from hospital to rehab. He stepped in there when we didn't even know how to ask for help.”
Corcoran, along with Ed Rodriguez of the Gulf Coast Chamber of Commerce, Tracie Sweat of Centennial Bank and the entire community, have been invaluable during the Mogans' time in Atlanta, Matt says.
Fundraisers have been held, awareness bracelets are being worn and prayers are constantly sent.
“There's not a group around here that doesn't start their meeting with a prayer for Jacob,” Corcoran says. “The outpouring is incredible. I can't go anywhere without people asking me how Jacob is doing. Everyone is wearing the bracelets, and signs are up all around town.”
How to help Jacob
PRAY: Matt and Belinda Mogan's first request is that people pray for their son and their family.
GIVE: To help the Mogans with expenses, donate to the Jacob Mogan Fund at any Centennial Bank location. Checks can be mailed to The Jacob Mogan Fund, Centennial Bank, c/o Tracie Sweat, P.O. Box 4649, Gulf Shores, 36547.
ENCOURAGE: Visit “The Jacob Mogan Fund” page on Facebook and leave Jacob a message of encouragement.