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Community responds in time of tragedy

July 30, 2020
WOLFEBORO — The Allwine family lives with the tragic events of this past July 4 never far from mind.

Dylan Allwine, age 25, musician, music teacher, drummer with the band Co-pilot, finished a gig at the Twin Barns Brewery in Meredith, stopped at his parents' home in Wolfeboro to change his clothes and took off to meet up his friends at Suncook Lake in Barnstead and cool down from a long, hot day.

Dylan's mother, Anne Marie, while returning home recently with his father, Dave, from the Spaulding Rehabilitation Center in Boston, recounted what happened next.

When Dylan got to the home of the family of one of his friends, he was so anxious to get into the water, he immediately ran down the dock and dove in. Almost instantaneously, he felt a crushing blow as he hit his head in what unbeknownst to him was water just three feet in depth. He couldn't breathe and couldn't move. He had fractured his C6 and C7 vertebrae. In those terrifying, helpless moments underwater, his friend and bandmate Austin Beveridge saw that he was in distress and came to his rescue.

Anne Marie says that they were told that Austin's rescue directions to float Dylan up to the surface and hold him suspended in the water were critical to saving his life.

He was transported to Massachusetts General Hospital, where doctors performed spinal surgery. After a week in the intensive care unit, Dylan was transferred to the Spaulding Rehabilitation Center, where he will remain until ready to move into his parents' home.

He reports having some sensation in his legs and arms, and recently was able to move his thumb and forefinger slightly. According to Anne Marie, numerous types of therapy are underway: physical, occupational, music, and mental health among them, and Dylan is working hard each day as he learns how to adapt to and improve his condition.

She is pleased with the therapies and the skilled staff, all employing methods that engage Dylan in steps toward increased independence.

"They're working him hard," she says. "He's exhausted."

There have been frightening medical alarms to deal with in this journey– one brought them rushing back to the hospital after they had left for home for the first time in days, but the work goes on.

She says, "The kindness of so many family members, friends, co-workers, and even relative strangers from all over the country has really helped Dylan and our family through this."

Family friend Nancy Hirshberg has set up a GoFundMe page named Dylan Strong! in anticipation of expenses for renovating the Allwine home to accommodate Dylan's needs in the foreseeable future, including ongoing medical care, home care, and physical and occupational therapy, much of which is not covered by medical insurance. The Allwines have learned from a family in a similar situation that expenses for caring for a quadriplegic in the first year can go as high as $500,000 and more.

The responses have been swift, prompting this statement on behalf of the family from Anne Marie: "At this time of grief and sorrow for our son and then the overwhelming fact of the amount of care and expense this will incur, we have truly been blessed and amazed ... We are incredibly thankful to you all!"

Dylan also posted by voice to text on his Facebook page the following: "Thank you so much to everyone that has been donating. Your support means so much to my family and I, and has been honestly overwhelming. I never could've imagined this outpouring of support that has made me feel so blessed. I'm really at a loss for words, so again, thank you so very much."

Cards and letters of encouragement may be sent to Dylan Allwine at the Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, Room 602, 300 1st Ave., Boston, MA 02129. Nancy Hirshberg is providing frequent updates on Dylan's progress on her Dylan Strong! page as well as financial progress.

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