Mother Waits In Agony For Teen To Wake From Coma - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

05/20/04

Mother Waits In Agony For Teen To Wake From Coma

It was a moment that a Gulfport family says changed their lives forever. Last month 15-year-old Charles Cantu fell from a tree while playing in friend's yard.

His mother says before the accident her son was an active, independent eighth grader. Now he's in a hospital bed in a coma.

With no idea of when, or if, her son will wake up, Charles's mother says the wait is difficult.

Her home is Gulfport. However, for the past few weeks Mary Tewell has been living out of a Pascagoula hotel room. On April 17, the unimaginable happened to her son Charles.

"Something that Charles does all the time is climb a tree. He was 25 feet in the air and apparently the branch he was standing on or was holding on to broke."

Charles survived the fall but with severe head trauma. Doctors at Singing River Hospital told his mother that Charles was in a semi-coma and the full extent of his injuries won't be known until he wakes up. Until then, the family's only contact with Charles are four half-hour visits each day to the intensive care unit.

"We tell him about the cousins that can't make it or we'll talk to him about his television programs, anything," said Tewell. "We just tell him how much we love him and how much we miss him. I really believe he does hear what we're saying."

With a job and two other sons to care for, Tewell says living out a hotel 40 miles away from home has been hard on the family.

"It's opened up everybody's eyes on what can happen in just a minute. So you just have to take every day and tell your kids you love them. Just hold them sometimes because you never know what can happen."

Tewell says she's been told that her son's rehabilitation will probably take years. Her husband is currently working in Kuwait as contractor, so the rest of the family is trying to help raise money to help pay for Charles' medical expenses.

If you would like to help, there is a fundraiser taking place Saturday, May 22nd in front of AmSouth Bank on Highway 49 in Gulfport. Family and friends will be out washing cars starting at 9 a.m.

by Danielle Thomas

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