Journal entry by Wendy Gorski

Ben is still in a coma at St. Elias with no neurological changes.  It is so hard for his family to be away from him during this stressful and uncertain time.  Please keep them in your thoughts, prayers and hearts.  On the gratitude list today is the beautiful sunshine coming in through his new, big window.

Journal entry by Wendy Gorski

Ben is still in a coma at St. Elias Hospital with no neurological changes.  He was moved rooms today as he has been improving with breathing on his own and is not needing as high intensity work.  Part of this move is also because the hospital is preparing for COVID-19, so we are happy he is farther away from that area of the ICU.  It looks like therapy will continue for this week which is also positive news.  Ben's family has been recording books read aloud so they can share their voices with him for larger portions of the day.  We pray he hears them.  I know everyone's lives are very difficult right now; thank you for still checking in on Ben; 

Journal entry by Wendy Gorski

Ben is still in a coma with no neurological changes at St. Elias.  The hospital is closed to visitors so Nicki and the kids are making the best of the situation through video chatting at Ben when he is doing therapies.  There is some talk in this coronavirus climate that therapists might be non-essential health workers at the hospital, but we are hoping that Ben can continue therapies as it is during his sessions that we hope to see changes.  Alaska's businesses are "hunkering down" so Ben's family has been trying to get outdoors everyday and on the gratitude list today is the magnificent sunshine.  We are so grateful we still have this space to meet and share our love for Ben and his family.  Stay well.

Journal entry by Wendy Gorski

Today marks six weeks from Ben's accident and we were given this date as a time to assess his condition meaningfully.  Ben is still at St. Elias Hospital, in a coma and weaning off the ventilator by practicing daily trials on a trach collar.  While we have brain imaging that can be used as a rough guide, what the scans cannot tell us is how much and what effect the damage will have on Ben. This waiting has been very difficult, particularly when the outcome is so uncertain.  

We were hoping Ben would have emerged from the coma by now and are disappointed and troubled that hasn't happened.  We were also hoping to see more neurological changes than Ben has shown us.  The plan going forward now is to connect with Craig Hospital in Denver, Colorado at the advice of Ben's attending physician in St. Elias.  Craig is a specialty rehabilitation center for people with brain injuries and they see a much larger volume of patients in Ben's situation than St. Elias.  While it was hoped, and still is, that Ben would be able to be transferred down to Craig to recover some level of capability, he is not there.  The doctors at Craig are the experts in cases such as this and can offer recommendations on his future care.  Nicki has been told that such a review is still a few weeks out from happening.  So, we are still here, waiting with Ben and praying for the best.  

There has been an overwhelming abundance of love, for Ben, each other and all of us on the sidelines.  At best this will be a process lasting years and will have many stages, requiring endurance and flexibility throughout.  Ben's family cannot express their gratitude for your love that has overflowed its bounds and engulfed them, but would like to extend it anyways.  Thank you.

Journal entry by Wendy Gorski

Ben is still in a coma at St. Elias Hospital with no neurological changes.  The therapists are trying to reteach him to exhale on his own so he can be given the chance to make sounds.  With a tracheotomy, air does not move past his vocal chords so we have not been able to see if he can respond vocally in some fashion.  They are doing this by means of an apparatus that allows him to breathe in through his tracheotomy site but encourages him to exhale through his mouth and/or nose.  Nicki was again able to check in with the nursing team at St. Elias and send Ben virtual love.  She and the kids were again able to be outside today, out at the Nature Center.  On the gratitude lists are spring animal tracks, good friends and loving family.  Thank you for checking on Ben today; we hold you in our hearts.

Journal entry by Wendy Gorski

Ben is still in a coma at St. Elias Hospital with no neurological changes.  His therapist today was able to call Nicki so she could speak with Ben while he was on the tilt table.  This is a wathat Ben is able to be almost upright, which is new stimuli for his brain, good for his lungs and stretches his Achilles tendons.  It is still very painful to not be at Ben's side but his family is doing what they can to stay in touch and then be present together.  Today's gratitude journal entries include the snowshoe hares Nicki saw while mushing the dogs, and the family's chance to cross country ski this afternoon.  Thank you for your presence and stay well.

Journal entry by Wendy Gorski

Ben has had no neurological changes and is still in a coma at St. Elias Hospital.  The hospital is closed to visitors but today the staff contacted Nicki and she was able give Ben the chance to hear her voice while viewing some of his therapy.  It is so, so hard not to be able to hold Ben's hand, sing him songs, read The Princess Bride to him and help with his care.  But it was much appreciated that the staff reached out to Nicki.  Thank you so much for your loving care during this dark, isolating period of this uncertain and frightening journey.

Journal entry by Wendy Gorski

On February 6, 2020 Ben was in a car accident.  He is in Providence's ICU in critical condition with head trauma and brain swelling.  He luckily has no broken bones but needs a completely calm environment with no stimuli.  We will know more 72 hours after the incident so right now the Schneider's need a lot of prayers.  Everyone is welcome to visit the waiting room but please be respectful of Nicki, Leo and Kaya.  You will not be able to see Ben and probably won't see Nicki.  Your love and support is what is buoying us all up and it means the world to the Schneider's.
Ben’s Story

Site created on February 7, 2020

Ben's wife Nicki writes "I can't thank all of you sufficiently. But thank you. You are one of Ben's greatest gifts right now to my family, and I appreciate all that you are doing, and will do. I am truly grateful."

If you'd like to donate directly to Ben and Nicki go to:

Meal assistance can be found by going to:
Choose one of the options beneath "Support Links".

If you'd like to donate to Caring Bridge for giving us a space to provide support for Ben, do so via Tributes for Ben.


Nicki has asked for one person at a time to sit with her and we have that covered. Also the ICU is limiting drop offs, so please don’t bring food or other gifts without checking with us.
On the morning of Thursday February 6, 2020 Ben was in a car accident.  

He is unconscious at Providence's ICU in critical condition with head trauma.  He luckily has no broken bones, but needs a completely calm environment with no stimuli.  

We will know more when he awakens, so right now the Schneiders need a lot of prayers, positive thoughts and love.