‘Just thank everyone who helped me:’ Trauma survivor grateful for caregivers after serious crash

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — May is National Trauma Awareness Month, and on Thursday, trauma survivors were honored and reunited with their caregivers at HCA Florida Memorial Hospital.

Action News Jax’s Alexus Cleavenger sat down with 20-year-old Jake Brown, who was just one of nine trauma survivors being honored.


On Aug. 2, 2023, Melanie Harris, Brown’s mom, got a phone call she said turned out to be her worst nightmare.

“Someone saw the accident and the helmet on the ground, and they thought it was Jake,” Harris said.

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Brown got into a motorcycle accident, which was just five years after Harris said she lost another son to suicide.

Much of the day was a blur, but this is what Harris said she remembers.

“I just needed to see him,” Harris said. “I just remember telling all the nurses, ‘His name is Jake, his name is Jake, talk to him, talk to him, keep him here.’”

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Brown spent about a month in the ICU.

“Jake had a broken eye socket, a fractured skull, a fractured spine, fractured pelvis, fractured pubic, both of his wrist bones went through,” Harris said.

He had a severe brain injury and a 6% chance of survival.

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“6% ... I don’t even, I can’t even wrap my mind around it like you were meant to be here for sure,” Harris said.

But now 9 months later, Brown is walking, talking, and making strides in his recovery.

“I just thank everyone who helped me and, uh, it feels really good to be here,” Brown said.

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Harris said her son’s brain is still healing and they have a long way to go. But as she looks back, she is grateful for the paramedics, the trauma nurses, the ICU nurses, and everyone in between who was there for them.

“They brought me coffee, they brought me snacks, they hugged me, they joked with me,” Harris said. “These people, they just went above and beyond.”

Another survivor honored Thursday was Ponte Vedra Beach teenager Madison Schemitz. She was stabbed 17 times last June.

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