Photo courtesy Laura Warner: Eatonville man Joseph Warner recovers after having surgery on both of his femurs at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle after crashing his motorcycle on state Route 7, June 24.
Photo courtesy Laura Warner: Eatonville man Joseph Warner recovers after having surgery on both of his femurs at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle after crashing his motorcycle on state Route 7, June 24.

A Gofundme page was recently established for 21-year old Joseph Warner who lost control of his motorcycle June 24 on state Route 7 and slammed into the oncoming traffic’s guardrail.

Warner was riding home from a day trip when the accident occurred. His mother, Laura Warner, said he was found and tended to by two passer-by nurses before Eatonville Fire Department paramedic John Walsh arrived on scene. EFD had Joseph Warner air lifted to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle.

Laura Warner said a police officer informed her of the accident by phone after her son was taken to Harborview. She said she had felt like something was wrong with her son previously.

“He is always home before dark,” she said. “I was getting worried and all the sudden I was like, ‘Joseph is never out this long, and it is starting to get dark,’ and then I received a call.”

After learning what happened, Laura Warner left immediately to the hospital. Joseph Warner’s helmet had hit center on the guardrail causing a traumatic brain injury with potential long-term brain damage. His body had bounced into the southbound lane, and his motorcycle had skidded to the ditch on the opposite side of the road. Warner broke bones and tore several ligaments, and his spine was riddled with compression fractures. Initially, Warner was not expected to live, Laura Warner said. His helmet saved his life, however.

“[The medical professionals] said the helmet he had is way better than most,” Laura Warner said. “He always wanted to do the right thing so he bought the best (helmet) he could.”

Upon arriving at the hospital. Joseph Warner couldn’t see or hear and required intubation. He was unconscious and wasn’t expected to wake up for months, his mother said. After a few weeks, however, he woke and the intubation tube was replaced by a tracheostomy to help ween him off airway assistance. He has regained his sight and hearing and can now give thumbs up or down when asked questions. He has also undergone three surgeries: one for both femurs, one on his left knee and tibia and another on his left ankle. Laura Warner said she felt more optimistic after her son's surgeries.

“Them doing the surgeries made us feel like there is more hope,” she said.

One of the most difficult parts about the hospitalization is the visitation regulation because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Laura Warner said. Only two people can visit at a time, and only one can be with her son. Even with the restrictions, family and friends continue to stop and visit regularly. Those who have not been able to visit in person are using FaceTime over an iPad given to Joseph Warner by his friend and ex-coworker Tristan LaChance and mother, Kelly LaChance.

The LaChances met Warner when Tristan LaChance worked at King Feed with him during the summer in 2018. He and Warner quickly became friends, Tristan LaChance said.

“From the very first moment I spoke to him he was very welcoming and always had a smile on his face,” LaChance said. “Joe was there a lot for me.”

During the LaChance’s visit, Kelly LaChance spoke with Laura Warner about setting up a GoFundMe for her son. At first it was difficult to accept, Laura Warner said, but she agreed.

“I have not ever been in this position,” Laura Warner said. “I’ve always been a giver, so me being a receiver is strange. It is territory I have not been in too much.”

Kelly LaChance wrote that she feels blessed to know Joseph and knew he was special when he offered to help her son move with his pickup truck.

“He made an instant and lasting impression with his smile and kind demeanor,” she wrote. “I wish I could do more.

The GoFundMe page was established July 14 and has raised nearly $5,000 of the targeted $10,000. The funds are being raised to help with hospital expenses, physical therapy and eventual home care. The funds will also help subsidize Laura Warner’s income while caring for her son. In addition, Joseph Warner’s insurance with Cigna does not cover everything, Laura Warner said, and it is unclear how much longer they will be willing to cover him outside of employment.

“I see everybody’s heart because I know people giving money at this time is hard,” Laura Warner said. “Sometimes it makes my heart feel like it could just burst. It means so much.”

The donations have been made by more than 50 people.

“Everyone being a part really makes you feel like you’re not alone,” Laura Warner said. “It takes a village.”

She said she is thankful for the monetary contributions but asked that people also prayer for her son.

“People praying for him is the biggest thing, and I think it is the strongest,” she said. “I think he got this far because of people praying for him.”

Kelly LaChance wrote on the GoFundMe page that she wants Joseph Warner to have every opportunity he can.

“He is 21 years old with a full life of experiences ahead of him,” she wrote. “He is the sweetest and most genuine man (kid) you will ever meet.”

Before the accident, Joseph Warner had just received his commercial drivers license and was working toward several certifications with his employer Ecolab. During his Eatonville school years, he won gold for individual flags during an equestrian competition and attended the Good News Club, for which he still volunteers. His mother said his dream is to become a motorcycle mechanic.

Donations can be made at https://gf.me/u/ygyx2p.