Bill and Diane Akers, photo provided
Parents of Ball State student injured in Florida express gratitude for outpouring of support
Bill and Diane Akers got the call around 1:45 a.m.
It was from the hospital saying their son, Andrew “Drew” Akers, a Ball State junior marketing major, had been transported after being hit by a car during spring break.
“Dr. Lozada says, ‘This is Dr. Lozada from Broward Health Medical Center in Fort Lauderdale. This is a call nobody ever wants to make,’” Drew's mom, Diane, said.
With the help of family, Drew’s parents immediately arranged a flight to Florida. However, Drew was never alone. Someone was by his side from the moment the accident happened to the time his parents made their way to Florida to reunite with their son.
Drew was struck while walking across the street to catch an Uber, his parents said. The driver did not stop, but the cars behind them did.
“There happened to be a nurse who actually pulled over to the right lane where Drew had been thrown and blocked the path so that no other cars could run over him and got out of her car,” Diane said. “She didn’t know if he’d be alive, she thought he’d be dead — but she got a pulse and immediately flagged down a police officer and called for help.”
His parents credit the nurse with saving Drew’s life and are meeting with her soon to thank her in person.
“To me, she’s like a guardian angel, to be there right when this happened,” Bill, Drew's father, said. “Who knows what would have happened if she hadn’t have acted as quickly as she did?”
Diane’s sister and mom went to the hospital, only to find that a member of Theta Chi, Drew’s fraternity, had stayed with him after the accident.
“Before any of our family ever got [to the hospital], one of his fraternity brothers was actually with him in the emergency room holding his hand,” Bill said.
When Bill and Diane arrived at the hospital, Drew was in a medically-induced coma to help him recover from the two skull fractures, facial fractures and two brain bleeds he suffered due to the March 5 accident.
Now, Drew is awake and responding to visits with his family — including a visit from his grandmother — and through FaceTime, he's been able to talk with his two siblings.
“He had just had the tube taken out and [Drew's grandma] said, ‘Oh Drew, I can’t wait to see your pretty blue eyes,’ and he woke up and winked at her,” Diane said.
Bill and Diane have been staying with their son for the maximum hours the ICU allows — about 12 hours a day. Soon, though, Drew will be moved out of the ICU and into a section that allows for longer visitation.
Though they’ve found themselves with an extended stay a thousand miles from their home in Fishers, Indiana, support from friends and complete strangers alike has found its way to the southern tip of Florida.
Drew’s Theta Chi fraternity brothers visited him in the hospital before they traveled back to Muncie at the end of spring break, and Gage Carroll, the fraternity president, established a GoFundMe for medical expenses.
As of right now, Theta Chi has raised more than $28,000 for Drew and his family.
“We have just been blown away,” Diane said.
Other members of Ball State Greek Life have supported Drew, as well. Bill said a woman in Alpha Phi, who has never met Drew before, emailed him and said she and her sisters were praying for Drew, collecting donations for the family and making him a card.
Other strangers to the Akers family have reached out, too. A woman who used to go through the Target checkout line Drew was a cashier at wrote to his parents to tell them how she was praying for their “wonderful” son.
Diane said Father Brian Doerr at St. Francis of Assisi in Muncie prayed with his congregation for Drew, as well.
For now, it will likely be a few more weeks until Drew can return to Indiana and finish rehab, his parents said.
“It may be six to eight weeks. We don’t know,” Diane said. “It will just depend on the process. But he’s doing amazingly well.”