News & Updates

Hi everyone!

We are so sorry we’ve been unable to post an update about Bryan as regularly as we have in the past. As you can imagine, most all of our energy is focused on making Bryan as comfortable as possible as he continues to adapt to his new surroundings.

However, we will try to do our best to let everyone know how Bryan and the family are doing. Bottom line and without sugarcoating anything, Bryan is far from the old Bryan and each day is a struggle.

While Bryan seems to be settling into his new “home”, he needs round-the-clock care. Luckily, the employees at the health care facility are amazing. They give Bryan the 24-hour care he needs, which includes assistance with everyday tasks: getting out of bed, getting dressed, brushing his teeth, eating, etc.

Everyone noticed that Bryan was sleepy during the day so they have checked to see if his Pituitary Gland was damaged. If it was, that would explain why he would fall asleep at the breakfast table even though he just got out of bed or during therapy. We are waiting for those results. One of his caregivers mentioned she noticed that at times during the night Bry would stop breathing, so he is also going to be tested for sleep apnea, which is a common issue with people with TBI.

We hope you all were able to see Bryan’s son Tyler throw the first pitch Opening Day at AT&T Park on Friday, April 13th. In a fitting tribute to his father, Tyler walked to the pitcher’s mound, alongside Jeremy Affeldt and followed by the Giants team.

Bryan and Ann appeared live on the JumboTron from the health care facility. Tyler then threw what we all would have called a strike :) It was a very emotional and endearing Opening Ceremony for us.

We will never give up hope that one day Bryan will be able to once again see his beloved Giants play in person. No matter how rough things get, we will never give up on that dream and we know you all won’t either.

Thank you again for your continued support and prayers.

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One year ago, our lives were forever changed. Its hard to believe that it has been a year since Bryan was hurt. The emotions we felt when we found out what happened are still with us to this day. Its painful to think back to that day, and the following days, weeks, even months, and think about what we went through emotionally and at times, physically. This literally took our lives and turned them upside down. We have always tried to take as much good from this as we possibly can, but to be honest, at times that is hard to do. Because Bryan still has so far to go, it's easy to get discouraged, feel down and even get angry for what happened to him. We feel sad for Tyler and Tabitha, who need their dad. We feel sad for Bryan, for having to go through what he's been through and what he will go through for the rest of his life. But, because he has his life we are forever thankful. We know we have each other to help pick ourselves up and remind ourselves of the times in the beginning, where there was really no sign of life in Bryan, when we sat there staring, longing and praying for any eye movement or hand twitch. Praying the seizures would stop and the infections would go away. Then we prayed for any sign of recognition, and then to hear the words we had missed for so long..."I love you." Then...the kisses.
Bryan is strong, there is no doubt about that. Along with his strength, he had all the prayers that were said for him to help get him through the roughest times. We know that they will continue to carry him through this, in what direction they take him, that we don't know. But we will be with him every step of the way. The song Patience was one of our first and its what we continue to live by.
Today we participated in the Walk for Thought. A fundraiser for the Brain Injury Association of California, which helps raise awareness and money for Brain Injuries and research. Dave, Ann, Erin, Bonnie, Mikayla, Jacque, Tyler and Tabitha, along with other family, friends and supporters walked a mile (in the rain!) for this great cause as team Get Stow-ked. We were honored to be a part of it and we couldn't have thought of a more fitting way to spend the anniversary of Bryan's injury; together, supporting a cause that is now so important to us.

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Hi everyone!
Sorry it’s been so long since we have done an update. A lot has happened and we are just now able to sit and put it all into words. A little over a week ago, Bryan had surgery on the Achilles tendons on both his feet to correct the drop foot he had. The casts were taken off Thursday and he should now be able to put his feet flat when his therapists stand him. We shared with you that we had a surprise birthday party for him. Despite all the people and the excitement, when asked, Bryan doesn’t remember, even when we asked him the day after. The biggest thing that has happened is Bryan was transferred. He was moved Thursday to a facility with aggressive therapy that will help him become as independent as possible. He shares an apartment with 2 other TBI patients and has someone with him at all times helping him. He still needs someone to transfer him to and from his chair, dress him, make his meals, etc. Unfortunately there are no rehab places fitting for Bryan close to home. Being so far away, the move was tough. We think the long drive, combined with being in an unfamiliar place set Bryan back a bit, which we suppose is to be expected. He hasn’t been sleeping well since he got to the facility, barely has an appetite and at one point he said he was scared. All we can do is hug him, tell him he isn’t alone and try not to cry in front of him. We have worked out a schedule so that at least one of us is with him at all times. Ann took a leave of absence from work, which will be tough financially but none of us would have it any other way. Like we have this past year, we will make it work.
We have to say a huge thank you to everyone at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center, where Bry had been since October. From the doctors, nurses, therapists, his coaches (sitters), the people in the cafeteria and the janitorial staff…they helped us get through being at a hospital daily. We also know that Bryan was very fond of all of them as well. Please keep our family, especially Bryan, in your prayers during this transition.
From another of Bryan’s favorite bands, we picked this song because, for the past 11 months, nothing else mattered but Bryan. We have learned we also need to live our lives as normal as possible, but this is our new normal. Not really knowing what to expect. “Trust I seek and I find in you, every day for us something new. Open mind for a different view, and nothing else matters.”

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Today is Bryan's 43rd birthday!! For the past two weeks we have been planning and preparing for a surprise birthday party for him. We invited all of our family and Bryan's close friends to the hospital. Bry came into the cafeteria to about 35 people yelling "surprise!!" The look on Bry's face was priceless!! So was the moment right after when he swiveled his wheelchair around, as if to compose himself! He spent the next couple of hours eating, visiting, smiling, and blowing out his candles. We could tell he was getting tired (he starts nodding or shaking his head to answer as opposed to talking).

It was truly a blessing to celebrate his day with him and our family and friends. His happiness today was more then we could ever ask for and the day was a complete success. We will remind him about it tomorrow, in the event he doesn't remember. Back in April and May we couldn't even think about today, not knowing if he would have another birthday to celebrate. We thank God everyday that he does and his smiles today meant the world to us.

We have mentioned a few times about the group the Bryan's Brigade, who have come together to support us and Bryan. They sent ornaments for his tree, birthday cards and together they made a beautiful, very personal quilt for Bry's birthday (we posted a picture here on this site). We have included a video that was made, with love, for Bryan, that include only some of the group. There are many more, but these beautiful faces represent loyalty and love, even if we have never met them. We are so thankful for the Bryan’s Brigade, as well as all of you, who have been there for Bryan and our family every step of the way.

Happy Birthday Bryan!!! You are SO loved by SO many.

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Hi everyone!

Today is Super Bowl Sunday and no, we would not let a Super Bowl pass for Bryan and not have a Super Bowl "party". We are bringing food and snacks to him at the hospital, where we will hang out in the day room and eat and watch the game. Because Bryan has finally been able to take all of his many medications orally, he had his G-tube removed on Friday, so he gets to eat what we bring him today! Yet another step in a very positive direction. His therapies seem to be wearing him out lately. It could be because they are trying to be more aggressive, but they are also trying to see just how independent he can be: feeding himself, testing his cognitive memory, helping them move him from his wheelchair to his bed. Sometimes he can feed himself but it takes a LONG time. They plan on raising one of his medications that make him more alert since he tends to chew his food for a long time, making them concerned about his alertness and swallowing. He is now totally off one of his 3 seizure medications so that should only help. It's always nerve-wracking as they lower the seizure medicines, since something has happened pretty much every time. But, so far so good. It's become more obvious to us every day that Bry's short term memory was hugely affected and doesn't seem to be getting better. He can't tell us who was visiting the day before or even sometimes that same day. Its really hard but we try and think of all the positives.
Bryan had a great week for visitors. Thursday, Tim Flannery and his wife came and met Bry. Tim and his band the Lunatic Fringe, along with Bob Weir from the Grateful Dead, participated in a fundraiser in Napa, which was so much fun. We were able to attend and the turn out was unbelievable. The amount of support never fails to amaze us. Friday Jeremy Affeldt visited. Jeremy hadn't seen him since August or September and was so happy with Bryan's progress. He sat and talked with us and Bryan for about an hour, which is pretty amazing considering how busy he is.
Dave's birthday was on the 2nd. He was home watching Erin's son Logan but got the best birthday present. A call from Bryan! Ann helped Bry call and wish Dave a happy birthday.

We picked this song because its so beautiful and the message of it being a brand new day and making the past the past is basically our lives now, and Bryan is our hero.

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Bryan continues to amaze all of us! We love that he has a sense of humor again, even with a look he can make us all laugh. We hope his feeding tube can be removed soon since he can now eat ground food. He seems seems to like it, except he still seems to not like peas, which Erin couldn’t agree more..
We have always said that this couldn’t have happened to Bryan for nothing and that some good has got to come from it. For us, it brought our family closer together than ever before. For the bigger picture we have wanted to use Bryan’s story to raise awareness about fan violence and brain injuries. Our family has learned more about traumatic brain injuries than we ever thought possible. The more we learned, the more we realized just how little is known about it. Dr. Manley has stressed to us about the lack of funding when it comes to TBIs and is a big advocate on making it known. Through a support group we found out about a walk in San Jose on March 31st to support the Brain Injury Association of California. The date of the walk is one year to the day Bryan was hurt. There’s no way we could NOT do this. Our team name (so cleverly thought of by Tyler) is “Get Stow-ked”. Tyler, Tabitha, Jacque, Bonnie, Erin and other family and friends are doing this for Bryan and all other TBI survivors. If you would like to support our team, the link below will show you what to do. If there is a walk close to you, you can even start your own team and walk for Bryan or a loved one. As always, we have appreciated all the support from everyone!

We would love nothing more then to have Bryan come home. We know, eventually, it will happen. Even with his continued progress and determination, we also know it won't be happening anytime soon. He requires around the clock care, and with his medications, Gtube and lack of initiation him coming home just isn't an option for anyone, most of all him.

We try to start and end our posts with Bryan stories or funny things Bryan has said or done. His most recent is telling us he wants to grow his hair long again. If you look through the pictures on this site, you will see some of him with his long, beautiful hair. We thought maybe he wouldn’t remember saying that or would change his mind but each time he’s asked he said he’s going to grow it out. If he does in fact do this, we’ll have to hold back and not tease him during the growing out phase where it will start to look like a mullet. Our rocker is back!

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Bryan continues into 2012 with his therapies. Along with the Botox, he was fitted for a cast for his left foot because his therapists noticed his foot wasn’t lying flat on the ground when they stood him up at the standing table. From being in a bed for so long the feet start to droop, which they call Foot Drop. The cast goes on for 2 hours at a time and then removed, to allow air. Since wearing the cast the physical therapists said his foot is almost now lying flat on the ground. He seems to enjoy the manicures and even told Bonnie to fix a nail the other night. He still doesn't like us to touch his feet though, so we have to be quick about it.

Everyone here has come to “know” Bry in the past 9 months. Whether it be from the news or from this site, bits and pieces of the man Bryan was has been told. We thought we would share some stories of the Bryan before this happened, so you could get to know him even better. These are stories we often remind Bryan of while sitting with him. You all know Bryan was, and is, hilarious. Everyone would vouch for that. He also loved music and concerts. He worked out, loved his children, loved the Giants and the Cowboys and loved his job. For the most part, we were a close family, both immediate and extended, with annual “Stow Family Barbeques”, and dinners on birthdays. Bryan was outgoing and the life of the party and was VERY meticulous about his appearance, especially his hair. As Tyler and Tabitha got older, Bryan started taking them to sporting events and had tickets for them to go to a concert when he got hurt.

One year for Ann’s birthday, Bryan got them tickets to go see Neil Diamond. Yes, Bryan loved heavy metal and rock but he also loved Neil Diamond and would argue with Erin, (a huge Elvis fan) that he was the true king of rock.

On a side note, we have decided to close down the online store but want to thank everyone who is out there supporting Bryan and wearing a For Stow sweatshirt, shirt, hat, lapel pin, or a decal sticker on your car. We want to say a HUGE thank you to Joel and Brook at JS Designs for, since day one, printing and shipping the orders and only requesting reimbursement for shipping. The online store was instrumental in fundraising and we deeply appreciate JS Designs for all they have done.

We picked this song for the update because it is one of Bryan’s favorite Neil Diamond songs.

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Wow. What a year. You would think that March 31st would have been what defines 2011 for our family. But actually, it’s what we take away from that horrible day that defines it. We have witnessed so much love and support. We are praying 2012 will be better for Bryan, Tyler and Tabitha.

Bryan continues with his therapies, exhausted at the end of each day. His therapists are working with him on using a manual wheelchair, instead of the electric one. His arms are so stiff and his reaction time is slow, so they want him to practice bringing each arm up onto the wheels and pushing down. He is able to move the chair little by little, but he has to be reminded to bring his hands back up to the top each time and it is a slow process. He got Botox in his left leg to loosen his ankle since his left foot doesn't go flat when they have him standing at the pedestal. We mentioned to the doctor that if they happened to have any extra Botox, we would be happy to take it off their hands. Wouldn't want it to go to waste, would we?

Jacque, Tyler and Tabby would like to thank everyone for your love and support. Tyler and Tabby received gifts for Christmas that were sent from people they have never met. We know that throughout this, they have learned of all the good people that are out there. People who are standing behind them and their dad every step of the way. Its a lesson they learned the hard way, but its one they will remember forever. Jacque: Tyler and Tabitha could not have had a better support system than what they have with you, Sam, M, and the people surrounding you. We love you guys.

Since March 31st, the 4 of us have been devastated, humbled, torn down and lifted up again. We are far from being a perfect family and we have never claimed to be. This year has shown that we will be united not just the four of us, but Bryan included. We have remained by his side from the beginning and will forever be by his side for as long as he wants us there.

Along the way, we have met some incredible people who will be a part of our family for the rest of our lives. Unfortunately, it also brought people into our lives who have hurt us, made us doubt ourselves and tried to tear us apart. It’s because of our love for each other and the support we have received from our family, friends and thousands of strangers that have helped us overcome the negativity that came along with this. And for this, we will be forever grateful.

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Merry Christmas Eve everyone!! Hard to believe that Christmas is here, and 2012 is right around the corner. We feel so blessed that we are able to spend Christmas as a family. We take this time to reflect on what the meaning of Christmas is and every one of you have shown us the true meaning. It's family, compassion, it's giving and sharing without expecting or wanting anything in return. We are continually humbled by the huge hearts of the people who have supported Bryan, Tyler and Tabitha, and our family.
We want to thank everyone for their kind words and support in regards to the interview on Rock Center. It was a hard decision to make to do the interview but we were assured that we were making the right decision after asking Bryan more then once if he was OK with it. Every decision we have made up until now has been in Bryan's best interest, and it's comforting to know that we can now make decisions WITH Bryan.

After a couple weeks of noticing a change in Bryan's alertness, it was discovered that he had a bladder infection. He's on antibiotics and is doing better but is back to being tube fed until his swallowing gets better. We have been given the OK to give him mashed potatoes and gravy tomorrow during dinner. The bladder infection affected his therapies but he's now back on track. We have decorated his room, which helps him remember what holiday is coming up. His little tree is covered in beautiful ornaments that were sent to him, as well as ones Tyler and Tabitha made with him.

We want to take a moment also to say Happy Birthday to Matt Lee, who would have been 27 today. Not a day goes by that one of us doesn't think about you and we wear your bracelet right next to Bryan's.
We picked this song for our update because the lyrics are truly inspirational and beautiful. It's not the most touching version of this song, but it's for sure the most suiting for our heavy metal lover, Bryan.

From the Stow family to your family....we wish you all a safe and VERY Merry Christmas

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Hi you guys! We are so sorry it has taken us so long to post an update. As you can guess, life has been crazy.

The response to Bryan and our Thanksgiving Day picture was unbelievable!! So thank you!

Bry continues to amaze us with his strength and his determination. He proves it daily during all of his therapies.

Last week he had surgery to remove the kidney stones. As expected, he was uncomfortable afterwards, but continued with his therapy schedules.

An interesting change we noticed, is he no longer wants us touching his feet and hands. Which makes it a challenge to keep them looking good. One time Bonnie tried to be sneaky by doing it while he was sleeping. She clipped one toenail, his eyes popped open and he forcibly said "no Bonnie!". We've learned to just talk him through it and promise not to hurt him.

The other night Jacque brought Tabitha to painting class with him. She brought some ornaments they painted together (and turned out beautiful!). As they were leaving Bryan said to Tabby "I love you baby". What a special moment for her and according to Jacque, Tabby was beyond happy.

We love these small (yet huge) moments with him and couldn't be more blessed to have him here.

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Stow Family Album

Erin, Bryan and Bonnie