Michigan State University's Independent Voice Since 1909, East Lansing, MI

State News Logo

Thursday, October 2, 2014


  • Facebook Logo
  • Twitter Logo
  • RSS Feed Logo
  • Email Signup Logo



Stacy Blakeslee begins road to recovery with therapy sessions




jn_new_blakeslee01_030514

Her fiancé Brandon Childers tucks MSU graduate Stacy Blakeslee's hair behind her ear March 5, 2014, at Spectrum Rehab and Nursing Center, 4118 Kalamazoo Ave., in Grand Rapids. Childers spends most days with Blakeslee in the hospital. He said he can tell she's more calm when he's around. Julia Nagy/The State News



This is the beginning of the day’s therapy sessions. Five days a week, Stacy undergoes two half-hour sessions of physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy.

These sessions include various stretches to help loosen her muscles and small speech commands to make her mouth strong enough to eventually eat and talk.

“It seems like a lot - we wish it was a lot more but know some day it will be (more),” said Stacy’s sister Kelly Blakeslee.

In December 2013, the 22-year-old was diagnosed with a severe staph infection that spread throughout her body, leaving aneurysms on her brain.

The bursting of one of the aneurysms on Christmas Eve led to a stroke and sent Stacy into a semi-responsive state.

She spent almost two months lying in bed in the University of Michigan Health System hospital in Ann Arbor. She was kept on a ventilator as her brain healed, with at least one member of her family constantly sitting at her bedside.

She was moved to a nursin g home and neurology rehab center about a month ago as the first steps of recovery from her condition , Kelly said.

The family has a divide and conquer method for taking care of Stacy. Stacy’s fiance, Brandon Childers , has taken another month off work to stay in the center with Stacy .

Her dad, Dale Blakeslee, is there Friday, Saturday and Sunday while her mother, Patricia Blakeslee, is there Saturday and Sunday.

Childers’ parents also stop by every Sunday.

Kelly stops in every other week and said everyone still is staying positive.

“Progress is good so far,” Patricia said. “We just need to work on being patient for everything to happen. It’s going to be in Stacy’s time and in God’s time.”

Stacy no longer relies on a ventilator and instead has a tracheostomy tube helping her breathe.

Right now, her family is trying to keep her updated, even talking to her about the relentless snowy weather.

Kelly, who started a GoFundMe website to collect donations for Stacy’s medical bills and recovery, recently created a Facebook group to document Stacy’s story.

One day while checking the group, Kelly burst out saying, “250 followers - ballin’!” which caused Stacy’s eyes to pop open.

“The nurse just looked at me and said, ‘Oh, she knows who you are,’” Kelly said.

The next step for Stacy will be a visit back to University of Michigan Health System hospital to see a neurologist and hopefully have a piece of her skull put back into place. The piece was removed after the Dec. 24 aneurysm to relieved pressure from her brain, which means Stacy must wear a helmet whenever she is taken out of bed.

A benefit concert will be held to raise funds for Stacy on March 28 in Snyder-Phillips Hall.

The MSU Racing Club, who hosts a spring car show to collect donations for one specific charity every year, will be donating funds from this year’s show to Stacy.

Green Spartan bracelets also are being sold at Biggby Coffee on 2546 E. Jolly Rd. for $2 apiece, and another charity meal event for Stacy will be held in April.

“There are more expressions on her face - before she seemed sad or pouty, but we see a peaceful look now,” Patricia said. “I think there’s a full Stacy smile on the horizon.”


Comments powered by Disqus

Please note All comments are eligible for publication in The State News.