Danny Cox, the 18-year-old Petaluma resident who was paralyzed in a diving accident at South Lake Tahoe two weeks ago, is continuing his rehabilitation at a Bay Area spinal rehabilitation center.
Cox, who graduated from Petaluma High School in June, broke his neck on Aug. 10 when he did a flat dive into shallow water at the lake and a wave from a passing boat apparently pushed his head into the sand.
He was taken first to a hospital in Reno, Nev., but was transferred last Friday by ambulance and plane to Kaiser Foundation Rehabilitation Facility in Vallejo.
Cox is paralyzed from the chest down, but has some movement and feeling in his arms.
A Web site, www.dannycox707.com, has been set up by his family and friends to provide updates on his condition, including video reports, and provides a way for people to donate to his medical costs.
"He's doing OK now, but it's been harder to keep his spirits up, said Maureen McGowan, his mother. "After he got out of ICU and acute care, he's been making progress, but it's not as much progress as he had been making, and this is frustrating him.
"A psychologist visited him, and said that this is a normal part of the grief process."
McGowan continues to be thankful for the "fantastic" support that the Petaluma community is giving her family.
Matt Menar, a resident of Petaluma who works as a firefighter/paramedic for the Menlo Park Fire Protection District who helped Cox plan a career as a firefighter, is hosting the Danny Cox Benefit Golf Tournament at Rooster Run Golf Course in Petaluma at 1 p.m. on Oct. 22.
Arnie Cohen, founder and president of the Carousel Fund, said his organization is going to help raise money for Cox's expenses at its annual fund-raiser on Oct. 2. The Carousel Fund is an all-volunteer organization dedicated to assisting Petaluma families with children suffering from catastrophic illnesses.
One of the auction items will be an autographed pair of Muhammad Ali's boxing gloves. Cox is offering two items from his own collection — a San Francisco 49ers football helmet signed by Jerry Rice and Steve Young, and an autographed Joe Montana poster — to be auctioned off to help pay for his care.
A three-course lunch for 20 people at Graffiti, followed by a tour of the McEvoy Ranch, will also be auctioned off on Oct. 2, with proceeds going to Cox.
"There are lots of adjustments that will need to be made to the family's house when he comes home," Cohen said, "including handicapped access, with wider doors. He will also need a special bed that costs $30,000. It is designed to support his lungs and gastrointestinal tract. So we will be asking for donations (on Oct. 2) to fund the need for Danny's special bed."
"Often, when something like this happens, there is a lot of energy at first to help someone in need. But after a while, the energy changes and the public awareness fades. The Carousel Fund is there to sustain and support families in need over a long period of time.
"Danny is a Petaluma kid, and we're there to help."
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