A Huntsville mother and son pair have traversed many difficult roads together and have achieved major milestones through hard work and dedication and holding tight to their steadfast faith.
Alex Malarkey, now age 24, was paralyzed in a car crash Nov. 11, 2004, when he was 6 years old on State Route 47 near County Road 9, just days after his family had moved to the Logan County area. While the coroner was called to the scene and first responders initially thought Alex was dead, he survived a high spinal cord injury and traumatic brain injury and spent about two months at then Columbus Children’s Hospital in a coma.
While adjusting to life with quadriplegia, Alex would become the first child to undergo the Christopher Reeve surgery in 2009 to have a diaphragm pacing system installed to enable him to spend time off the ventilator.
A few years later, Alex would enter high school at Indian Lake Schools, and his mother, Beth accompanied him to classes each day at school, with the duo rising very early each day and spending several hours just to get ready for school.
Their efforts paid off in a big way when Alex was named one of the valedictorians at Indian Lake High School graduating in the Class of 2016.
Now Alex and Beth are a facing monumental challenge, with legal proceedings stating they are to vacate their County Road 57 home near Huntsville by midnight Saturday, Oct. 1.
Beth’s ex-husband and Alex’s father, Kevin Malarkey, has filed an eviction notice against both Alex and Beth. Kevin owns the title to the home and now resides in Colorado. Beth has been making regular mortgage payments on the home for the last five years, she explained.
Beth said earlier this month, her Columbus area attorney, Thomas Novack, was preparing to file an appeal to the eviction notice through the Bellefontaine Municipal Court when he passed away unexpectedly Sept. 9.
With the eviction notice still in place, Beth and volunteers are busily packing up her and Alex’s belongings this week to move to a home in Bellefontaine that has been made accessible through the Logan County Board of Developmental Disabilities.
The home is likely not a permanent solution for them, considering Alex’s needs, Beth and her sister Kristina Bright report.
“There is a home that was made accessible for Alex, for which we are very grateful,” Bright said in a GoFundMe page she created for her sister and nephew.
“However, this home has small rooms, the only storage in a detached garage, and only one exit that can accommodate Alex’s chair which poses a risk in an emergency.”
Bright has organized the GoFundMe site for Alex and Beth, stating that they are hoping to raise $50,000 to go toward a down payment and potential modifications to purchase a more functional home in the future, with the page accessible at https://gofund.me/79d4060c As of Wednesday afternoon, $17,745 has been raised toward that goal.
Bright explained that Alex and Beth have very specific needs to ensure their health and well being. Alex’s chair is very large, over 6 feet, and complex.
“It has to support him, hold his emergency supplies and his ventilator, and has an attached cart that carries a car battery to provide power to the vent. Imagine a recliner fully reclined.
“Doorways need to be at least 32-inches, and rooms need to be open to allow Alex to move around in the home. There needs to be a large bedroom/ living area so that supplies can be store close by. This includes medical supplies, multiple pieces of large equipment such as a tilt table and portable lift, not to mention Alex’s hospital bed and a TV for sports watching.”
The situation and uncertainty regarding how they will adjust to the new home has taken a toll on the local mother and son.
“Consistency is such a big thing; routines are a big part of Alex’s caretaking,” Beth said this week. “Let’s just throw everything up in the air.
“In the 18 years since the accident, we’ve learned a lot about what works. It’s important for Alex to be able to get out and about, and we spend time outdoors on our property when we can, too.”
Through the GoFundMe page, Bright expressed appreciation to all of those individuals who have contributed or offered their prayers or other assistance.
“Alex requires 24/7 care and -Beth does it all….Beth brought home her child on a ventilator without any medical training except exposure she got at the hospital. She is an incredible person and Alex is so strong.
“She needs help getting money for a down-payment and for modifications needed to accommodate Alex. We appreciate all your support and welcome all your prayers.”
Beth also asked for specific prayers as she and Alex navigate the days ahead.
“If you could please continue to pray for wisdom for all involved as well as peaceful resolutions and willingness to work towards those.
“This life is but a mist as the Bible says. We continue to seek to honor God in navigating this world while we are here. It can be very painful and challenging. Nothing happens without a purpose behind it.
“Trusting God, thankful for the sacrifice of His son, and as I continue to say…But God.”