Accident paralyzes Harrington man, inspires others to create

HARRINGTON — Imagine living life to its fullest as a 20-year-old and working full-time for a successful company.

But then, everything changes.

That’s exactly what happened to Tyler Trego of Harrington after an accident at about 3:30 a.m. June 17.

He and friends were on their way home from the Firefly Music Festival in Dover.

According to his mother, Cristi Trego, “the driver veered off the road hitting a culvert, flipping three times and landing on top of a parked vehicle in a car lot.”

She says no drugs or alcohol were involved in the accident.

Mr. Trego graduated from Lake Forest High School in 2015. He was working full-time at Burris Logistics.

When the accident happened, Mr. Trego was asleep on the backseat of the car.

He sustained multiple injuries to his spine, causing paralysis from the chest cavity down.

According to his mother, he had a severely broken sternum, collapsed lungs, bleeding on the brain and a broken bone in his neck. All of the ribs on his right side were broken along with some fractures on the left, as well.

“He has some brain damage which is getting better and better with each day,” she said. “He spent a month in Christiana ICU before going to Magee Rehab in Philadelphia. Thankfully, Tyler doesn’t remember the accident as he was asleep, tired from working all day. Tyler has had high spirits through this whole ordeal.”

To help the family cope with medical expenses, travel costs and other needs, a T-shirt fundraiser has begun through All Star Embroidery in Harrington. Two designs are available in red and blue at $20 per shirt. Ms. Trego says a youcaring.com site has also started in Mr. Trego’s name to help defray the cost of a wheelchair, shower chair, bedside toilet chair and medical bills. They also are selling bracelets at $5 each.

A fried chicken dinner fundraiser is also being planned for Sunday, Nov. 5, to be held at the Frederica Senior Center.

Tickets for the dinner can be purchased by called the senior center at 335-4555. Shirts can be purchased by calling 632-1007.

The family is trying to make the best of Mr. Trego’s accident.

“He loves to make people laugh and loves to dance. He loves football; his favorite team is the Colts. T.Y Hilton and Andrew Luck are his favorite players,” Ms. Trego said.

Fashioning outreach from art therapy he received during treatment, the family jumped on the painted rock craze.

They started leaving rocks in the nearby area painted with pretty designs and a note on the back suggesting the finder posts about the discovery on Facebook with the hashtag #TYLERROCKS and rehides the rock for another person to find later.

A TYLERROCKS group on the social media platform has already attracted hundreds of members.

“We started that in art therapy and decided to make it something that we can help encourage others to spread love and lift each other up, because you never know who really needs a smile,” Ms. Trego said.

Much to his mom’s excitement, Mr. Trego returned home Friday after his lengthy stay in the hospital and rehab facility.

“He has gone through so many emotions, but for the most part he has held it together more than we have. I am so proud of my son for staying so faithful that God will heal his paralysis just like he has with his brain damage,” Ms. Trego said. “We are very blessed in this situation because this could have been way worse than it is. God has brought so many people in our lives that were impacted and blessed because of this situation.”

Jennifer Antonik writes special reports for the Delaware State News

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