Kibby Mayo of Brookings was still dealing with the travesty of having lost her son, Kevin, in a road rage-related motorcycle wreck last month when she got news Jan. 8 that her daughter, Monique, was in the hospital.
She, too, had been involved in an accident and was paralyzed from the chest down, doctors at Oregon Health and Science University told her.
The family now seeks financial assistance, primarily through a GoFundMe page, where they have set a $100,000 goal. As of Tuesday, more than 300 people had contributed about $21,500 through the site.
“There’s a lot going on, outside this accident,” Kibby said Monday. “We’re still reeling from the death of our son.”
A month of horrors
The family’s nightmare began Dec. 14 when Kevin was involved in a wreck on Interstate 5 near Medford. Mayo collided with the steel median and died of his injuries at Asante Rogue Regional Medical Center.
The man who ran him off the highway, Raleigh Hugh Rodrigues, 65, of Talent, faces two charges of manslaughter. Kibby said the charges are too light, noting that one of Kevin’s handprints was lifted from the body of the truck.
Kevin and his brother Chris had just opened a denture office in Ashland.
After his death, Kevin’s father had a portrait of the young man tattooed on his chest, and Monique drove down from Bend, where she had opened a barber shop four months ago, to provide moral support.
Then on Jan. 8, while on her way home, Monique, 27, hit a patch of ice on Dead Indian Road east of Ashland, rolling her SUV several times, pinning her underneath the car and seriously damaging her spine.
Miraculously, the family said, her 5-year-old son, Kamden, was uninjured — and was even able to get free of the vehicle to try to help his mother.
Kibby said about a half-hour passed before another car passed.
Monique was then taken to a Klamath Falls hospital and transported to Portland where she underwent emergency spinal surgery, stabilizing five vertebrae with metal rods and removing a shattered one. She is still in the intensive care unit, Kibby said Monday.
“She had a really bad day yesterday,” Kibby said. “She had fluid on her lungs, had to have a chest tube… This morning, she’s doing better. Today has been a good day.
“It’s the first couple of days; it’s so shocking, traumatic,” she continued. “People go through the stages of ‘I don’t have anything to look forward to,’ ‘I can’t raise my son,’ ‘I can’t do anything.’ Little baby steps are starting to happen.”
Grief and change
Kibby has been — as she often is, she said — the “take-charge, task-master” in the family.
“It’s hard. My husband is taking it very hard,” she said. “I was being very strong, trying to grieve in quiet so I don’t add to his grief (about Kevin). But when this happened, this was more than I can manage. I had a pretty big moment yesterday; I just kinda collapsed, a meltdown.”
Their son Dylan Jobe, who flew from Hawaii for Kevin’s services has flown out again and now plans to stay. A daughter Sarah has flown in from central California.
“We have so many things we have to deal with,” Kibby said. “We have to close her business, move all her things out of that town. We have to consolidate. Our first concern was, he and Chris had just gone into business. When Kevin died, we said, whatever resources we can pull together, we’ll make Chris the sole beneficiary to keep him going. Now we’re saying it’s too much. Wrap it up and bring him home. We have to circle the wagons.”
For now, the family is rotating through time spent at OHSU with Monique, resting and traveling back to keep Mayo Denture Clinic open in Brookings. All patient care will be maintained, Kibby said.
It’s far too soon to guess what limitations Monique might have.
“She’s definitely paralyzed,” Kibby said. “But the body is unpredictable. Even when things look like they can never recover, things happen you didn’t expect.”
Once she is stabilized, she will go into an intensive rehabilitation to learn how to function on a daily basis, care for her son, live independently and get back to her passion of barbering.
Kibby noted that she has been overwhelmed by the support she has received from the communities of Brookings and Ashland, from friends, family and strangers.
“As terrible as this is, the beauty is in the humanity and compassion of everyone who has come together to lift us up, in prayer, in bringing food, moving trailers for us, bringing dog kennels — the list goes on. The community has been incredible.”
Various fundraising events are ongoing, including one at Brookings-Harbor High School where a half-time free-throw challenge was won by local Realtor Skip Watwood, who gave his winnings of $445 to the family. A fundraising dinner is also planned at J’s Bistro in Ashland at 6 p.m. Jan. 30.
Money raised through the gofundme account will pay for expenses to help Monique throughout the journey ahead and purchasing necessary adaptive equipment for paraplegic individuals, such as a wheelchair, a “handi-capable” vehicle and home modifications to accommodate her needs.
“The sun still comes up every day,” Kibby said. “We just have to get up and plow on.”
Reach Jane Stebbins at email@example.com .