On March 8, Jacob Bolling (18), a senior at Hamilton Southeastern High School, experienced an accident on his way to school. Although there is no certainty about the exact cause, the heavy rain may have contributed to his truck hydroplaning prior to hitting a large tree on Cyntheanne Road. No, he had not been texting on his phone and yes, he was wearing a seat belt. Unfortunately, he suffered significant brain trauma resulting in his comatose state ever since.
Who is Jacob Bolling?
“Jacob’s whole life has been centered on music,” says Luann Hansen, family friend of the Bolling family. Not only did Jacob play the guitar, but he also played the drums for “Drumline” and the marching band at HSE High School. Moreover, he played drums in a praise band at Bethel Lutheran Church. Luann recalls, “Shortly before his accident, he and his friends made a mixed CD with some of their favorite songs. Since then, his friends have come by his home to visit and play the CD for him. One day when Jacob was over at our house, he asked my husband, Kevin, if he could use his guitar for his senior pictures.” Obviously, it was very important to have this instrument sitting with him in the background, signifying a meaningful prop. To his family and friends, Jacob is very much alive and so is his love for music.
In addition to recently becoming an Honor Roll student at HSE, Jacob is an Eagle Scout. His project, a community garden, involved him building the planter boxes to grow vegetables and getting the soil donated. The vegetables from his garden went toward the food pantry at his church. Since his accident, the youth group has taken over the responsibilities and kept his garden alive, in his honor.
On April 6, Jacob’s family moved him to the Shepherd Center (specializing in acquired brain/spinal cord injuries) in Atlanta, Georgia. Jacob lives with his parents, Sheree and Baxter, and is the youngest of four children. Together, they have faced their fair share of obstacles. For instance, the fourth day after the accident, the medical staff basically gave up hope on Jacob. However, the Bolling family, strong in their faith, was not about to give up.
Jacob had to have his spleen removed due to excessive bleeding. In addition, he had to have his ear sewn back on because it was so badly severed. Furthermore, during the surgery for inserting a stomach tube, the staff punctured his colon in two different places. As a result, this operation had to be repeated. What’s more, his tracheotomy had to be redone in Georgia. On top of all this, he also had pneumonia, a scratched cornea, six pairs of casts on his feet, and five casts on one arm. Luann says, “They have to keep the feet at the right angle so that they will heal properly allowing him to walk again someday.”
Jacob stayed in Georgia for almost four months before coming back home to Noblesville. Luann states, “This facility did everything they could do to try and wake him up. Technically, he is still in a coma, but emerging. Although his eyes can now open, he is unable to follow commands on a regular basis or hold anything in his hands.” He can sit in a wheel chair (with his helmet on,) and be fed minimal soft foods and sips of liquids. He has a bone flap (which means a part of his skull is out) and a pain pump implanted in his side.
Expenses Are Steep
The feeding tube costs $13 per day, $85 per week, $380/month and is not covered by insurance. In order to help the Bolling family, Luann decided to sell wristbands that read “Praying 4 Jacob” for $5 apiece. So far, almost 2,000 bands have been sold, with 100% of the proceeds going directly to the Bolling family. There have been successful fundraisers held for Jacob by groups such as the Boy Scouts of America and HSE High School.
How Can I Help?
Here are some ways to help the Bolling family:
- Meals – You can either sign up to take them a meal or pay for this organization to prepare one and personally deliver it for you. Go to www.takethemameal.com and type in Bolling and password, 8971, which will bring you to a calendar and instructions from LeeAnn Stein.
- Donations – You can make a donation via www.takethemameal.com or you can contact Luann at firstname.lastname@example.org to order wristbands.
- Fundraisers – You can offer your own ideas or contact Luann for fundraisers that have been pre-arranged for you.
- Upcoming Fundraiser – On Sept. 29, a “Carwash for Jacob” – with concessions – will be held at 9:00 a.m. at the Tractor Supply (Highway 37 in Noblesville).
An Excellent Way to Earn Service Hours
If you know of any teens looking to earn service hours, then Luann can help provide contact information. She says, “I need people to pick a day and an opportunity they would like to help with. It’s really easy. They just need to send out fliers. Dairy Queen, Buffalo Wild Wings and Chili’s (in Noblesville) have all agreed to help if someone can just step forward.”
Also, a company called Discover “FUN” draisers offers the selling of large garbage bags where orders can be taken ahead of time (much like Girl Scout Cookies). With fall coming and the need to rake leaves, these bags would come in handy.
“Every little bit helps,” says Luann. “They (Sheree and Baxter) just bought a wheelchair van to take Jacob to the doctor. Jacob’s parents have been working alternating shifts with their respective jobs in order to take care of him. Plus, they both get up at 12:00am and 4:00am every night to tend to his needs. I know this is exhausting for them. Anything you can do, big or small, is greatly appreciated.”
Follow Jacob’s Recovery: