‘I will never stop believing in miracles.’ Community helps local family whose mother has been in a coma for 7 years
IDAHO FALLS — A benefit over the weekend meant to raise money for a local family whose mother has been in a coma for nearly seven years ended in success thanks to the community that rallied together and helped.
“It will never stop being humbling on how willing people are to help my family and how generous people are,” said Sadie Bartell. “It’s been an amazing few days.”
Sadie is one of six kids, and her parents are Mike and Lauriann Bartell. In 2015, doctors found an ulcer in Lauri’s intestine that was bleeding. They decided she needed surgery and admitted her to the hospital. Following the procedure, Lauri said that she didn’t feel right.
The cauterization on her ulcer had broken loose and torn into a major artery. She was rushed into emergency surgery and survived, but a lack of oxygen to her brain caused major damage. She has not been the same since.
Sadie has been helping care for her mom ever since she was 16 years old. She is happy to do it, but the family has struggled financially for years.
A friend of the Bartells from northern Idaho, Bruce Boudousquie, organized a fundraiser to help them with finances. He came to Ammon on Saturday at the Broulim’s parking lot and set up his food truck business, The Cajun Kettle, and raised as much money as possible.
“The benefit was a huge success. The total funds that were generated are still being tallied, but the amount will be very helpful to the (Bartell) family and is greatly appreciated by them,” said Boudousquie.
He said he served hundreds of people on Saturday during “The Bartell Benefit: Jambalaya feed to benefit the Bartell Family.”
“It went incredibly well. I was overwhelmed while I was there by how many people showed up for it,” Sadie said. “We had some people from Utah that came out for it, which is amazing. I was shocked that people traveled for it.”
Sadie previously told EastIdahoNews.com that her family was not only dealing with financial struggles but that she had been searching for a new hospital bed for her mother for over a year after it broke.
“It sinks down in the middle so she’s always sinking in the bed. The rails on the side are completely broken. We have them tied on,” Sadie said in an interview last month. “We can’t afford to get her a new bed, and Medicaid won’t help us.”
The new bedframe and mattress
Incredibly, Sadie received an amazing donation for her mother: a new bedframe and mattress.
“On Friday, we got a call from someone from (Idaho Falls) Community Hospital saying that they wanted to donate a bed. They had the bedframe to donate, but they didn’t have the kind of mattress that we needed,” she said.
But on Saturday, at the fundraiser that Boudousquie put together, another miracle happened.
Sadie said a woman came to the fundraiser and told her that she had the specific mattress the Bartell family needed. She told Sadie she had bought it for her son, who had passed away from leukemia seven years ago. At the time, he didn’t like it, so he had never used it.
“They put it back in the box and they left it sitting in their house for seven years, which is almost exactly how long my mom has been in a coma,” said Sadie. “She didn’t know why she felt inclined to keep it, and she told us she read the article and saw that that is what we needed, and she felt like that is why she was supposed to keep it. So she brought the mattress to us and donated it.”
Sadie said the fact that everything fell into place within a span of three days was unbelievable. She said she was so excited for her mother to sleep on the new mattress with the bedframe.
“I do my mom’s hair every single night. I always keep it in a braid so it doesn’t fall in her face. I was like, ‘This is your last night in this broken bed!'” Sadie said.
Idaho Falls Community Hospital dropped off the donated bedframe and set it up on Tuesday for the Bartell family.
Jeremiah Brock, the emergency department manager and director at Idaho Falls Community Hospital, said he has known Mike Bartell and his family for several years. He used to coach football with Mike. He said his organization was happy to help in some way.
“I saw a post about the food truck (benefit), and I saw your story (on EastIdahoNews.com) on the bed. (I am) fortunate enough to be in a position here at the hospital. I called our supply and equipment director and said, ‘Hey, we got to have a bed somewhere,'” Brock said. “Luckily, I work for an organization that is very receptive and open. They jumped to the chance.”
Brock said it took about eight people to bring the bed into the Bartell home and set it up.
“It’s just awesome to be able to help anybody out, but it’s awesome to be able to help a family like that,” he said. “We are just happy that we had the opportunity.”
As for Sadie and her family, she is so grateful to the community and friends who continue to support them.
“I think time and time again with our circumstances, we have just had miracles occur and that’s one thing for me. I will never stop believing in miracles because I have witnessed them over and over again,” she said.