Laitinen family continues to improve following accidentA fund has been set up to assist the family of Jim and Chanelle Laitinen of Blackhoof, who continue to recover from critical injuries sustained in the rollover of their van while vacationing on the West Coast.
By: Wendy Johnson, Pine Journal
A fund has been set up to assist the family of Jim and Chanelle Laitinen of Blackhoof, who continue to recover from critical injuries sustained in the rollover of their van while vacationing on the West Coast.
Jim and Chanelle and one of their three children, Araya, 10, were all hospitalized in the Portland, Ore., area following the accident. Araya was later released from the hospital after recovering from surgery for facial and head lacerations.
Chanelle, who also underwent surgery, was released from the hospital on Sunday, Sept. 5, and she has been at her parents’ house in Brush Prairie, Wash., ever since.
“She’s doing excellently and has gone to visit Jim every day since then!” reported her younger sister, Carla Hunt. “She is doing occupational therapy on her right arm to keep the muscles from atrophying, and she’s learning how to dress herself even though she’s in a neck brace and can’t move her right arm at all. She’s such a strong woman and there’s nothing she can’t do if she just sets her mind to it. She’s one of the most determined women I know!”
Jim’s surgeries, the most recent of which was Tuesday morning, went very well and Hunt added from what the doctors are saying, this should be the end of the surgeries.
“When the doctors went into surgery yesterday, they found that they didn’t have to do as many operations as they had previously thought,” said Hunt, indicating surgical repair of the pelvis was not necessary as previously indicated.
“That’s exactly what we’ve been praying for,” said Hunt. “God has brought so much peace to that hospital room and as Chanelle says, ‘It feels like God wrapped His big arms around us so tight, just like a mother would hold her baby.’ It just shows the effectiveness of all the prayers from the people around the world.”
Some 25,000 people have accessed and/or posted comments on the Laitinens’ CaringBridge site since the day of the accident, which occurred as the Laitinens were returning Chanelle’s sister, Ciara Kinnunen, to her home in Washington. Kinnunen, who was driving the van, lost control of the vehicle and overcompensated, causing the van to veer off the road and roll over three times.
Jim was thrown from the vehicle and both he and Chanelle sustained serious injuries.
The two were airlifted to a hospital in Portland, where Chanelle was treated for a broken back, punctured lungs, fractures in her neck and significant bruising. Jim sustained several broken bones, including his neck, which is broken in three places.
Also involved in the accident were family friend Sadie Whitebird of Cloquet and the Laitinens’ other two children, Roman, 8, and Cole, 4, all of whom reportedly escaped injury.
The Laitinen Recovery Fund has been set up at Wells Fargo Bank to assist the family with medical and living expenses incurred as a result of the accident. Donations can be mailed or dropped off at: Wells Fargo Bank, P.O. Box 10, 110 3rd St., Carlton, MN 55718, Account Number1432556551. For further information, e-mail: LaitinenRecoveryFund@gmail.com.