Jesse Faust Jesse's Journey

First post: Jun 29, 2022 Latest post: Feb 26, 2023
Welcome to Jesse’s CaringBridge website. We are using it to keep family and friends updated in one place. We appreciate your support, love, and words of hope and encouragement.

As I sit here a part of me doesn’t want to go into detail on Jesse’s injury, I’m not sure whether it’s out of self preservation, or because I know Jesse is deeply prideful and I’m overly protective of how he may feel about it and the heartbreak he has and will endure.  The reality is, you all love him so much and care for him so much and will have your own grieving and coping, which starts with understanding what is going on.  We will need your love, prayers, positive vibes, and support - and I’ve promised not to be shy about asking for help/info/advice, etc. So here it goes.

Thank you for visiting, we love you all so much!

Sharon and the kids (6 & 4)
Jeff, Janice, Jamie and Jenn (Jesse’s parents and siblings)

Jesse was involved in a roll over car accident the weekend of June 25th.  He was taken by ambulance to Howard Young hospital in Woodruff,WI where he was taken by Med Flight to Wausau’s Aspirus hospital.  At Aspirus, he was scanned and stabilized.  It was determined that he had fractures in C3-6 with spinal cord damage at C5.  There were no other injuries to Jesse or any others in the accident.  What this means is that at this time he does not have sensation from the nipple line down or his elbows and down.  He can move his shoulders and his elbows (which is great news).  His mind is fully functional and he’s talking, even joking at times, and frustrated or crying at  others.  

While at Aspirus, the doctor stated that Jesse needed to have a surgery done in the first 24 hours to decrease compression which would give him the best possibility of his outcome.  Wausau could not perform the surgery because the standard of care is to perform the procedure with neuromonitoring and Aspirus had recently cut staffing for neuromonitoring on the weeknds and could not get the right people in.  The Aspirus doctor did not feel comfortable performing the procedure without neuromonitoring as he could make things worse in the movement that Jesse did have.  That meant it was a scramble to try to get him somewhere else so we could meet the 24 hour timeframe.  UW was called first and they would not accept him without the procedure being done since there was risk in the transport without it.  The doctor then called Froedtert in Milwaukee who said they would take him but that Aspirus would need to do a procedure that essentially took 50 lbs of weight to pull the head up and then place pins to stabilize it there for transport to be safer.  Jesse was quickly wheeled in for this procedure and Med Flight was called to take him to Froedtert.  Once Jesse was at Froedtert he went in for stabilization and fusion procedures on Sunday 6/26, a surgery that lasted about 6 hours in total (anterior and posterior). [I want to quickly clarify that this information is not intended to be negative toward any health system - it just is what happened] 

On Monday, 6/27, it was determined that Jesse qualified for inclusion into a clinical trial, something I was praying for since learning we were going to Froedtert.  We signed the paperwork Monday morning and got that process going.  Jesse opted in to the additional CSF and blood draws in the name of science (with the ability to opt out at any time) and the first infusion was started later that day.  We are praying hard for active drug as this is a placebo-controlled trial (66.6% chance of active drug, I’ll add details on the trail in the journal)

His mind is fully functional and he’s talking but he’s tired, very tired.  He’s being seen by a lot of people; trauma psych, clinical trial people, physical therapy, speech therapy, respiratory therapy, child life counselors, and all the amazing MDs, APNPs, nurses and CNAs  at Froedtert.

I told this story to the Madison Fire Department in my letter to them, but I think it also resonates here too - On Monday (6/27) the Trauma Psychologist asked him if he likes his job as a firefighter, without flinching he said, “I love it”.  She followed that up by asking him “why?”, he replied, “you never know what you’re going to get,”.  While we don’t necessarily know what we are going to get, all your love, encouragement, positive vibes, prayers, and support, is immensely valued by our family.  We understand that this will truly be a marathon.  A lot of work in therapy is ahead of Jesse, and we will have a lot of work to determine adjustments to be able to let Jesse live as independently as possible, with purpose and to watch his kids grow up.  After all, he is still with us and able to interact with us, joke with us and likely still entertain us with his personality - and we absolutely could not be any more grateful for that.

I am completely floored by the number of people that are willing to pitch in, pick up kids, give rides, food, etc.  It resonates to me the amount of love Jesse was throwing out into the world… just in the chance that he needed it to come back to him.  We are working on how to determine what is needed and how to assign those needs between the fire department and others that want to pitch in.  Lastly, a massive thank you to the Local 311 and the Madison Firefighters.  I literally do not have words for the dedication and support you show each other.  When times are tough and the chips are down - you show up.  It’s something every organization should aspire to and it will not be lost on me at my workplace.  Which is why I am also forever grateful for my family at Lumicera/Navitus.  All the love and support, amazing leaders and people in the organization that step up and step in without flinching and keep things rolling.  Thank you!

If you want to donate toward Jesse’s care, home modifications and ongoing needs please visit the site hosted by the Professional Fire Fighters of Wisconsin at
Please be aware that the Tribute page on Caring Bridge donates to Caring Bridge and not PFFWCF on behalf of the Fausts.

I am sending all my love to each and every one of you, please be safe out there, and know that we love you.

Sharon Faust