By Ed Karvoski Jr., Contributing Writer
Hudson – On Dec. 9, 2016, John Deane suffered a fall near his family’s Hudson home, which caused brain injuries and left him in a coma. He passed away 10 days later at age 54, leaving his wife, Meg, and their four children. Her close friends and family have organized a memorial 5K run and walk titled John’s Sea of Green to benefit the Brain Injury Association of Massachusetts.
The 5K is scheduled for Sunday, Oct. 1, at 8:30 a.m., beginning and ending at the Avidia Bank parking lot, 20 South St. in Hudson. Explaining the 5K’s title, Deane said, “John loved the ocean and vacationing. The water was a very integral part of our vacations.” They took a Caribbean cruise together in November, 2016.
Shortly before the fall, John decorated the family’s home with outdoor holiday lights, then wished a neighbor a merry Christmas. He waited on the neighbor’s porch for Meg to return from the mall. Before she returned, he fell on a step and suffered a fractured skull. He was taken to the trauma unit at UMass Memorial Medical Center in Worcester.
“They’re pretty sure it was an arrhythmia and he probably just got dizzy and fainted,” Deane noted. “The neurosurgeon said he wasn’t going to make it through the night, but he did. The bleeding kept spreading and the pressure wouldn’t stop. They did surgery to take a piece of the skull out to try to relieve the pressure.”
John developed pneumonia with a fever. Medics cooled him with cold packs while covering him with a warming blanket.
“Because the brain activity was so low, they said that if John ever woke up, he would be left with a feeding tube and a tracheostomy,” Deane relayed. “My husband was very proud and wanted to be the provider, so I would never do that for him. His nephew was in an accident years ago and has a brain injury today. John would always say, ‘Don’t let me be like that.’”
John passed away Dec. 19, 2016. The same people who offered support after his accident are now assisting with the fundraising memorial 5K. Monica Burnett is serving as race director. Amy Peterson is handling what Deane describes as “the behind-the-scenes work.”
“There’s a group of us that all hang out together – we go to the gym and we socialize,” Deane said. “When John fell, everyone was there and offered to do things. When they found out about this memorial 5K they all wanted to help.”
The memorial 5K will follow the same route that the Highland City Striders formerly used for its Spirit of Hudson 5K in conjunction with the Hudson Community Fest. Other than starting from and returning to South Street, the runners and walkers will travel on the Assabet River Rail Trail, which at one point crosses Washington at Giasson streets. A runner herself, Deane has trained on the rail trail for 5Ks, a 10K and a half marathon.
“We’ll have a police officer on duty to direct traffic where the rail trail crosses Washington Street,” she noted. “It’s a nice route and familiar to people that run in Hudson.”
Deane wants the memorial 5K to be an opportunity for the public to become more aware of brain juries.
“Brain injury is not talked about,” she said. “A brain injury is so devastating to families. Whether the person lives or dies, they’re always affected.”
According to the benefiting charity’s website, “The Brain Injury Association of Massachusetts provides support and resources to brain injury survivors and their families; prevention programs to educate the public on the impact of brain injuries; education and training for brain injury survivors, caregivers and professionals; and legislative advocacy for improved community services and safety laws (seatbelts and helmets).”
To register online, visit johnsseaofgreenmemorial5k.racewire.com. The donation is $30. Participants will receive a swag bag. Registration the day of the fundraiser will begin at 7:30 a.m. For more information, email [email protected]