WAUWATOSA, Wis. - Family of a Kenosha County boy critically injured by a piece of flying debris from a lawnmower earlier this month is out of the intensive care unit at a Wauwatosa hospital, but not out of the woods, according to family.
Alex Hook's condition was upgraded from critical to stable, and moved to a neurology floor at Children's Hospital of Wisconsin Monday night, his aunt told FOX6 Tuesday. However, the extent of his brain injuries and long-term prognosis are unknown.
Michelle Koertgen telling FOX6 News that the outpouring of support from across the world is providing hope, the 6-year-old's story reaching tens of thousands of people.
"I don’t know anyone, personally, in Australia. But they reach out fairly regularly, asking about his condition," said Koertgen., adding she would have done things differently if she knew her email inbox would be inundated with messages of support for her nephew.
Hook was injured outside Riverview Elementary School in Silver Lake after being struck in the head by a piece of debris from a lawnmower. It has been touch-and-go since, until Monday, Sept. 20 when the boy was taken off a ventilator and moved out of the ICU.
"It’s like an emotional roller coaster. You take one step forward and all of a sudden you take a couple steps backwards," said Koertgen.
Koertgen told FOX6 that Hook is dealing with an infection, a fluctuating heart rate and possibly another surgery if a drain tube cannot be removed without further issues – not to mention issues with fine motor skills on his right side.
Since starting a Facebook page to provide updates, Koertgen said the support has been overwhelming. The monetary support for Hook's mounting medical bills through a GoFundMe has surpassed $150,000 – giving the family, including Hook's parents and older brother, Nathan, hope.
"Thankfully Alex is able to speak a little bit now and I think gave Nathan, and frankly all of us, a bit of relief," said Koertgen. "People are reaching out from all over the world. And it really does something to restore your faith in humanity when you see something like that, because – let’s face it – we get a lot of bad news."
Credit: Hook family
And now, Hook's family hopes for only good news in what will be a long road to recovery ahead.
Koertgen told FOX6 that the family has been blown away by the level of care and support at Children's Wisconsin. She wants to thank the staff and the thousands of strangers who are pulling for her nephew.
For anyone willing to help, the GoFundMe online fundraiser is still available.