Chris Kujawa trained as a Navy Corpsman, a medic who patrolled with Marines in Iraq. But instead of using his training to keep them alive, he now needs help as he struggles, paralyzed from the chest down, after a horrific summer automobile accident that occurred as he was returning to the Marine base near 29 Palms Calif., after a weekend visit to his parents.
“He was pretty much life and death for the first couple weeks,” said family friend Michele Wilkerson.
The 2007 Desert Vista High School graduate, known as Kujo to his Marine buddies, turned 21 while in the hospital near San Diego, where his parents now spend all their free time.
“His mom and dad pretty much lived there for the first few weeks,” Wilkerson said.
Kujawa isn’t out of the woods, but he does appear to be breathing on his own and he has some movement of his arms.
“He’s not feeling sorry for himself,” said Wilkerson. Instead, he’s thinking about his future and what kind of a career he can have, paralyzed from the chest down.
And his parents are also looking to the next step, which will be the day when their son comes home.
But because he will be in a wheelchair, his parents, Mike Kujawa and step-mother Shirley Coomer, will need to provide expensive remodeling of their Ahwatukee Foothills home.
The couple live on commissions, he’s a car salesman and she is in real-estate, neither of which are particularly lucrative fields at the moment. And traveling to San Diego every few days to see their son has been difficult for the family.
“It’s devastated them financially,” Wilkerson said.
Fortunately, because he is still on active duty with the Navy, Kujawa’s medical bills have been paid for, said Wilkerson.
To help raise money for the remodeling and specialty equipment Kujawa will need when he finally comes home, Keller Williams Sonoran Living Realty and Pioneer Title Agency donated a 52-inch, flat-screen television to be raffled off next week.
“One hundred percent of the proceeds will go to Chris’ medical care and welfare,” said Wilkerson, who is helping to organize the fundraising raffle. “I have a son who did two tours in Afghanistan and if something happened to him I would want friends to help me, that’s why we are doing this.”
Kash for Kujo Raffle Dec. 16, 10 a.m.
$10 per ticket to benefit Chris Kujawa
For tickets or information, visit Keller Williams Sonoran Living Realty, 4821 E. Chandler Blvd., behind Kohl’s, or contact Michele Wilkerson at (602) 740-7283 or michele@Iabcaz.com.
To contact Kujawa visit www.facebook.com/GetWellKujo.