Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco — A Seattle man is fighting for his life in Mexico after a freak accident out in the ocean. The family of Evan Griffis tells KIRO7 he was down in Puerto Vallarta recently celebrating and enjoying several pride events. He was out in the ocean at a nearby beach Sunday afternoon with several friends when he was knocked over by a large wave. Doctors told the Griffis family Evan is paralyzed from the sternum down.
“And unfortunately, my brother was struck by a wave from behind when he was exiting the ocean. And that wave threw him straight into the sandy ocean where he broke his neck,” Adam Griffis, his younger brother, said.
Adam says Evan went through an 11 hour spinal surgery on the front and back side of his neck. He says his brother has had signs of improvement as well and that he was able to lift up his arms recently; however, he says his brother is currently battling pneumonia.
“Evan required not only a food tube connected straight into his stomach, but a tracheostomy to assist with his breathing,” Griffis said.
He says while the family is in good spirits for the most part, he says it’s been an incredibly trying time.
“The last five days have been difficult for the family and for Evan,” Griffis said.
“Seeing your brother in the ICU even for one day let alone six, is not something I wish on anyone,” Griffis said.
Adam says his brother is truly a one of a kind person who would always help anyone out.
“Evan just always has people around him, gravitating towards him and just loving on him,” Griffis said.
Friends have set up a GoFundMe to help cover the costs to get Evan back into the States. He says as of now, insurance won’t cover the costs to move his brother to a hospital state side. The family expects this to cost over $100,000. But he says ever since word got out about what happened to Evan, the donations have come pouring in.
“Seeing people from elementary school, middle school, high school, his college. People are coming out, calling us, loving us and most importantly donating to help Evan,” Griffis said.
He says he and the family are grateful for all the support as they continue to try to get Evan back home.
“And if we can get him stateside, that will be a big relief for the family,” Griffis said.
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