By David Bagdon, Publisher
Westborough – Often, when senseless tragedies occur in life, people are left to ask why bad things happen to good people.
These words have been uttered a great deal lately when people learn of the situation facing the Gingras family of Westborough. Although the family has seen more than its share of tragedy, they were managing to cope and remain focused on the positive. However, things took a terrible turn June 29 when eldest son Jim, 37, was involved in a near fatal motorcycle accident returning from his carpentry job in Worcester.
Following the impact with an SUV, Gingras was thrown from his motorcycle. He was rushed to UMass Hospital in critical condition. After spending nearly 2 months in intensive care and under heavy sedation, Jim was finally alert enough to discover the magnitude of his injuries. In addition to a concussion, broken ribs and shoulder, as well as a punctured lung, Gingras was informed that he was paralyzed from the waist down. This was a particularly difficult blow in light of the fact that he was recently married to his wife, Rachel, and is the father of 13-year-old Avery and 6-month-old Aiden.
Currently at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in Boston, Jim spends his days relearning basic activities so he can care for himself when he returns home. Although no release date has been set, the family is hopeful he will be home sometime in October.
Although he still has a long road ahead, Jim is making steady progress. “I think things are going well but it has been a lot harder than I realized. It turns out my shoulder is worse than they thought and will need surgery, but I's definitely getting closer.”
A decade of challenges
The implications of the accident go beyond his devastating injuries. Four years ago, Jim's family re-mortgaged their Stevens Road home in order to add a second floor so he and his family could live upstairs. The goal of the move was to have Jim live on the second floor so he could share in the care and financial support of his mother, Joann, who suffers from advanced Multiple Sclerosis (MS). Planning for the addition was a goal of Jim's father, “Big Jim,” in his final months prior to losing his own long battle with MS in 2007.
Prior to the accident, chronic illness had made finances difficult for the family. Now, due to his injuries, Jim will be unable to work for the foreseeable future. Jim's wife, Rachel, has also had to greatly reduce her work schedule in order to care for Jim and their young sons.
As long-time residents of Westborough, the Gingras family has received emotional and financial support from Jim's friends and the community at large, but their needs continue to escalate. In addition to the staggering costs of his hospitalization, there is an immediate need to make the home accessible.
“I am so grateful to my friends and the whole community for the amazing support my family has received,” Jim said. “Being in a near fatal accident has really changed my perspective on things. More than anything, I want to get home to my family and my sons. Aiden was only 3 months old when I had my accident…he's changed so much already…I don's want to miss any more.”
To help defray some of the family's expenses a Gingras Family Fund-raiser is scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 8, from 6 p.m. until midnight, at the Knights of Columbus Hall, 17 Willow St., Westborough.
To learn more about this event or ways to assist the family, visit www.jimgingrasfund.org.