By Tim Priester
According to Rocio Valdez, there was one word that her son Jose Castro said that instilled the most hope following his surgery to repair his neck.
“He promised….he promised everyone he would do his best for a full recovery,” she said.
Jose sustained paralysis on December 21 while boating near the Lake Boca sandbar. While with his friends, he mysteriously fell off the boat, severely injuring his neck, and fracturing several vertebrae.
He required surgery to repair the c5 through the c7 vertebrae in his neck.
It’s been an uphill struggle the entire way, according to his mother, because Jose endured a collapsed lung following his surgery and battled COVID-19, which required him to be placed into a medically induced coma for six days.
Additionally, there was a dangerous but necessary move to Broward Medical Center in Fort Lauderdale, where shortly after, a tracheotomy was performed on him.
Finally, Jose was healthy enough to leave the respiratory care unit and had his tracheotomy tubes removed. On February 9, Jose was transferred to Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami, but not before staff, family, and friends celebrated his resilient spirit.
A graduate of Coral Springs Charter School, Jose dedicated himself to sports like swimming, baseball, soccer, basketball, and tennis team, which made it to the Regional Finals for the first time in Coral Springs Charter School’s history. In 2019, José became the 2019 District Champion, an achievement that allowed him to participate in the Florida State High School Competition as the only person to do so in his high school’s history.
Before going to college, he was ranked in the top 100 in Florida Region 8 of the US Tennis Association. He was also a member of various school clubs and the National Honor Society. College. At the University of Florida, he is a member of the Honor Student Society and is a Pi Kappa Alpha International Fraternity brother.
Although Jose currently has no feeling from the waist down, nor can he move his fingers, Rocio sees his continued strength and fight, even during his bad days, and believes it all stems from the prayers and support he has received throughout the ordeal.
To offset the financial burdens from the costly procedures, a Help Hope Live campaign has been established. Money raised helps cover rehabilitation therapies, equipment, services, home adaptation, medications, copays, and transportation. It also helps his parents stay close to the rehabilitation center he will be residing in.
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