Turn It Around teen Ryan Williams was set to graduate Charlestown High School next week on June 21, and it was a day he had been looking forward to for years – so much so that he gifted himself a new car after having worked two jobs for many years during high school and saving up the money.
The car, his mother Ayanna O’Brien said, was his pride and joy, but it also became something that changed his life forever as he suffered a serious car accident in Brockton while driving on June 6 – having fallen asleep at the wheel after taking all of his friends home to various locations around Greater Boston.
Now in the ICU, but stable, his family and the community at Turn It Around are asking for any donations they can get to a $10,000 Go Fund Me effort to help afford a special bed, a special chair and other medical devices he will need when he is able to return home.
“He had just dropped off his friends in Charlestown, Lynn and Everett and was heading back to my house in Brockton,” said O’Brien. “That’s when everything changed. I got this phone call at 4 a.m. from a lady I didn’t even know. She lived at the crash site and came out and helped my son. The car, a convertible, flipped four times after hitting a pole because Ryan fell asleep…He’s such a good kid and he worked two jobs through high school to buy that car. It was his graduation gift to himself.”
Williams, 18, suffered a broken neck, a broken back, two fractures in his face, fluid in his lungs, massive head trauma and bleeding on his brain. Thankfully, he has stabilized, but his path to a full recovery will be a long one.
In Charlestown, his friends are praying and rallying around him this week.
“We’re all rallying around him and his family, as he has a long recovery ahead of him,” said Mswati Hanks of Turn It Around.
O’Brien said she and his father, Ryan Williams Sr., had a tough decision to make in the hospital, but so far that decision is panning out for the best. The first option was to do surgery immediately for his neck, but it would mean he would lose about 50 percent of his mobility automatically for the rest of his life – likely putting him in a wheelchair or some other walking device for life.
Being a strong young man, his parents chose the second option of waiting to see if the neck heals itself, and to take care of the head trauma.
“He’s only 18 and is a hard worker and very bright,” said O’Brien. “We knew he could fight and do this.”
His father said that while many parents gush over their kids, Ryan was simply a hard-working kid who wanted to graduate and wanted to do great things after high school – and was very focused on anti-drug and positivity in the Turn It Around program.
“He’s a very unselfish individual,” said Williams. “He probably should become a politician, a real politician for the people. We always say that about him. He’s one of the good kids and by that I mean that he doesn’t drink and he doesn’t smoke like a lot of other people. Whatever he wanted to do, I think he could do it. He’s never been hurt physically, so this will be hard for him.”
O’Brien said the family is incredibly sad that Williams won’t be able to cross the stage for graduation at Charlestown High this year. They were all looking forward to it, and the whole family planned on being there. In fact, when he woke up, O’Brien said one of the first things her son realized was he wasn’t going to be able to attend graduation.
“It’s one thing he was concerned about in the hospital,” she said. “He turned to me and said, ‘Mom, I’m not going to be able to graduate or get my diploma.’ He was so excited to actually walk across that stage and get his diploma in hand. We’re going to make sure something like that can happen for him in time.”
Right now, the family is asking anyone who can to give to their Go Fund Me effort to help pay for the medical devices they will need at their home when Williams is able to return. The GoFundMe page is located at https://gofund.me/8c398b18.