There's no certainty for Brandon Danser and his family, except that doctors say he's past the point where he's likely to die from injuries he sustained Feb. 21 when the car he was riding in was hit by a semi-truck on Route 20 in Bethany.
Danser suffered traumatic injuries in the accident and remains in the intensive care unit at Strong Memorial Hospital.
He will need months, perhaps years, of neurological care. Perhaps, he will never fully recover.
Brandon's mother, Karin Meyer, has been living in Seattle with her husband, Dan Meyer, and their foster children.
Dan Meyer said this afternoon that his wife is holding up as well as can be expected, that she's pouring everything she has into caring for her son, and holds out hope for his recovery.
"It's an emotional roller coaster," Meyer said. "We have to deal with what might happen, and then this that happened and each new piece of news and each improvement is a step in the right direction. We're getting past the point where his life is in danger and that was the first relief after that initial shock. After that, each improvement is really a positive thing."
Brandon is showing improvement. He can answer short questions, though there are times he can't remember people. He spends more time out of bed and sitting in a recliner.
"He has shown good success picking up and tossing a Nerf ball, which is another major improvement," Meyer said. "He is not able to stand on his own but when supported on each side he has been able to take tentative steps and move across the room. He has good hand and arm motion and has been generous squeezing hands and giving out hugs."
The emotional roller coaster hasn't stopped since Karin received that early morning phone call Feb. 21 with the horrible news of the accident.
She got on the first flight East she could book and when she arrived at Strong and walked into Brandon's room, he was still completely unresponsive, Dan said.
"When she's away from Brandon, she gets a chance to release those emotions," Meyer said. "She gets time to recharge and even think about eating and sleeping for herself."
Meyer joined his wife in Rochester yesterday after making arrangements for their foster children in Seattle. He's here to provide the care for her she needs as she cares for her son, Meyer said.
It's a completely open question as to how long Karin will need to be in Rochester.
Doctors don't yet know when Brandon might be released from ICU. The most likely next step for Brandon is in-patient care at Unity Hospital's Restorative Neurology and Rehabilitation Center in Rochester. When he's able to be flown to another location, he could be taken to the Mayo Clinic, or he could return with Karin and Dan to Seattle.
Any scenario will be difficult for the family.
Out of concern for her sister's well-being and the financial stress of her family, Marianne Bowen has set up a GoFundMe.com page, Help Brandon Heal, with an initial goal of raising $10,000, though Bowen thinks the family's financial needs will far exceed $10,000.
"My sister believes, she hopes he will be back but there is a lot of work ahead of him," Bowen said.
The accident is such a tragedy, Bowen said. It's still unclear what happened. The driver, Hannah Dibble, was the designated driver and wasn't drinking, according to information given to Bowen. Brandon was wearing a seat belt, but still ejected from the vehicle when it was struck.
The Sheriff's Office investigation is being supervised by Chief Deputy Jerome Brewster (Chief Deputy Gordon Dibble is the great uncle of Hannah Dibble, so he recused himself from the investigation), and Brewster said late this week there are still no conclusions to share. There have been no charges filed or citations issued.
In all, six people were in the little brown 1997 Geo Prism driven by Dibble when it crossed Route 20 on a dark, bitterly cold morning from northbound Molasses Hill Road.
Of the six, Brandon was seriously injured and 18-year-old Alyson D. Krzanak died of injuries sustained in the accident. Jamie Scherer, 21, of Pembroke, was seriously injured, but is now listed in satisfactory condition at Strong. Felicia Fazzio, 20, of Darien, was also hospitalized, but her condition is not available. Dibble was treated and released at ECMC and Gabrielle Uzarowski, 21, of Pembroke, was treated at the scene and released.
Last night, members of the Pembroke community held a vigil for Krzanak. Visit The Batavian's news partner, 13WHAM, for a report.