Family

Boys, from left, Jaciel Granados, Michael Faigl, Tommy Faigl, and Edgar Granados smile for the camera. Jaciel required brain surgery following football practice at Rock Springs High School.

ROCK SPRINGS – Family can extend beyond blood. It can mean the people you share your lives with, through highs and lows. When hard times come, you can tell who your family is by looking for those who work to do some good amidst the bad.

Rock Springs High School football player Jaciel Granados suffered an injury at practice last weekend that led to him being flown to Salt Lake City, where he underwent brain surgery. Doctors placed him in a medically-induced coma as they relieved the pressure and bleeding on his brain.

Friends and family didn’t need to be told by doctors that it’s amazing that he’s regained consciousness and limited autonomy in so few days. They also don’t need to be told that they live in an amazing community when the support and donations keep pouring in.

Amy Andersen Yerkovich, whose son Tommy Faigl has been friends with Jaciel since fourth grade, set up a fundraiser on Facebook for the Granados family.

“I immediately knew I wanted to help this family. They are wonderful people. I wanted them to keep their focus on Jaciel and not worry about the bills when they come home,” Amy said.

In 48 hours, it had already raised almost $5,000. One hundred and thirty people raised nearly $7,000 by Friday afternoon, and that’s not counting the nearly $4,000 placed in a benefit account at Rock Springs National Bank in addition to other community fundraisers.

With so many people looking for ways to help, the community is providing invaluable support.

GROWING UP TOGETHER

Over the past six years, Amy said Jaciel has spent a lot of time at her house and with her family at their cabin.

“Jaciel is like a member of my family. We would do anything for him and his family!” she said.

Jaciel and Tommy both play football, though Amy said Jaciel didn’t play last year. The two sophomores had just started the 2019 season, with Jaciel as a linebacker and Tommy as a quarterback.

Tommy said practice was “pretty tough. Very mentally and physically demanding,” and he remained excited having a new coach and getting the season started. Since Tommy is a QB, he said there are a lot of new plays to learn.

When it came to Jaciel’s injury, Amy said she doesn’t know all the details.

“As far as I know he was going through general drills, and one of the coaches noticed he wasn’t acting right. He sent him to the trainer. All I know after that is the ambulance was called and then life flighted from our hospital to SLC. They took him straight to surgery to relieve the swelling on his brain,” she said.

After surgery, doctors said Jaciel has made weeks’ worth of progress in just days, according to Amy.

“They said it should have taken months for him to be where he is today. Yesterday his mom told me he was awake, aware and eating. And today he walked himself to the restroom. Truly a miracle. So many people praying!” she said Tuesday.

“Jaciel is exceeding the doctor’s expectations,” said Claudia Salcido, his aunt. “Our family is very grateful for all the love and support everyone has shown.”

HOW TO HELP

— Amy opened a bank account at RSNB and let people know that they can deposit money directly into the “Jaciel Granados medical fund.

When people started asking if there was an online account, Amy did some research and decided to do a Facebook fundraiser at www.facebook.com/donate/374375119902046.

“They only charge a small service fee unlike the charges for GoFundMe. The money then goes straight into the bank account. It is just amazing how many people are donating and ‘sharing’ the fundraiser,” she said.

— Maya Medi-Spa at 1101 Gateway Blvd. in Rock Springs is donating 5% of spa sales through Sept. 22 toward the medical fund.

— JACIEL STRONG bracelets have been ordered and will be available for purchase at Sidekicks Book Bar at 507 Broadway St., The Chill Grill at 1753 Elk St., Whisler Chevrolet at 2200 Foothill Blvd., and Antojitos Mi Pueblito at 726 Pilot Butte Ave., all in Rock Springs. This campaign was started by Jaciel’s cousin, {span class=”_5yl5”}{span}Erick Salcido.{/span}{/span}

— The families of Doug Elkins and Misty Bomba of Elk Bomb Shooting Supplies along with Wyoming Raised Apparel & Gifts are donating a .22 LR rifle to help with expenses. People can purchase squares on a board for $20 each by messaging Debi Thomas Knezovich on Facebook. The board and rifle are on display at Elk Bomb at 2400 Foothill Blvd., Rock Springs. The winner will be drawn when all the squares are sold.

As of Friday afternoon, the board was nearly complete along with their goal of contributing $2,000.

— Gateway Liquors and Johnny Macs at 2012 Dewar Drive in Rock Springs have also jumped on board. They hosted a 50/50 raffle Friday at the store and in the bar. The businesses are also selling tickets to win a Crown Royal chair for $25 each. The winner will be drawn on Sept. 7.

— Pachis Torres if offering homemade chocoflan, a delicious Mexican custard dessert, to help the Granados family. She is taking preorders for $25 each and delivering Monday through Friday. To order, contact her or Salcido on Facebook.

— Photographer Jen Hargrove also plans on doing a fall portrait drive to earn money for the medical fund. Specific details will be forthcoming.

— Supporters can also mail letters to Jaciel care of Amy Andersen Yerkovich at 510 Coldwater Creek Drive, Rock Springs, WY 82901.

“One great thing about Sweetwater County is how everyone comes together to help when someone is in need,” said Allison Volcic, a friend of the family. “The support Jaciel and his family are receiving is just astonishing!”

Jaciel’s family is “forever grateful” for the community’s efforts, according to Allison and Amy, who added her thanks to those who have donated and prayed for Jaciel and his family.

“Let’s keep it up! The support has been amazing, and I know positive thoughts have made a difference,” Amy said.

Family supports family, and as Jaciel continues to recover, he can take comfort in the fact that others are treating him like he’s one of their own.

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