For Cheryl Wiggins' family, the past five months have provided a true test of faith.
Some will look at what has befallen her family as a catastrophe. Others find reason to praise what has blossomed from the tragedy that struck her nephew, Andrew Camerino.
"He is awake now, which is amazing," Wiggins said.
So is the fact that he was recently able to say Cheryl's name.
"It's a miracle what has happened so far," she said, emotion clutching her voice.
Andrew is called the "Miracle Man" by a West Palm Beach, Fla., hospital staff after overcoming what was considered astronomical medical odds after suffering a ruptured aneurysm and stroke in early November. Andrew, who soon will turn 26, had completed paramedic school in Florida shortly before the health problems that left him with a less than 1 percent chance of survival.
In the days and weeks that followed the aneurysm and stroke, Andrew suffered a number of additional setbacks, including brain spasms, brain swellings and multiple infections. Being so far away has doubled the frustration and emotional pain for Cheryl and her husband, Glen.
"It could be two or three years until doctors know what his mental capacity will be," Cheryl said.
In the meantime, family members around the country are holding benefits to try to assist Andrew's immediate family members in Florida with what have become staggering medical costs. Andrew is no longer covered under his family's medical plan, and the Medicaid he receives is limited at best and nonexistent in many cases.
New Beginnings Church in Quincy, where Cheryl and Glen attend services, is trying to help the family with a fundraiser from 5 to 8 p.m. April 6 at 2201 Locust. The church is planning a $7.50 spaghetti dinner (or love offering), plus a silent auction, regular auction and raffles.
Andrew's rehabilitation costs $2,000 a day, and that is only the tip of the iceberg in terms of medical costs.
"He can't move yet," Cheryl said. "He has started to speak some words, which is a miracle .... because the (medical personnel originally) thought he was brain dead. We're just trying to help in whatever way we can."
For more information or to find out how to make a donation if unable to attend the fundraiser, contact Cheryl Wiggins at (217) 779-9313.