A life can change forever in a matter of seconds, and the Everman family is proof of this undeniable fact of life.
When Brett Everman was just 22 months old, the trajectory of his life was altered in a car crash that left him with a traumatizing brain injury. The Student Involvement and Employment Office presented his story through part of the Coffee and Culture series.
19 year-old Brett now gets around in a wheelchair and speaks through a DynaVox, a communication device that generates speech based on symbols and pictures he chooses.
He also speaks through his mother Kareen Everman, who works tirelessly every day to encourage and push him to achieve.
“It’s been crazy adapting to everything with him,” said Britteny Lardinois, Brett’s respite care provider. “The things Kareen has to worry about are things no one even thinks about, like how many steps there are in getting Brett into his chair.”
In order to make life as easy as possible in the given circumstances, the Everman family, including Lardinois, has made many changes.
“Everything is modified for him,” Kareen said. “We have a modified home, car and life.”
Although life is not easy for Brett or his caregivers, the challenges they have faced are countered with Brett’s kindness, sense of humor and smile that lights up a room.
When asked how he is doing, Brett is positive.
“I feel good,” Brett said.
Brett is so full of joy that it is easy to forget about the struggles he faces. He is happy and passionate about what and who he loves. He talks about monster trucks, NASCAR, and bowling. He tells jokes and laughs along with everyone else. His personality goes on for miles.
Kareen shared advice she had for mothers in situations similar to hers.
“Take it one day at a time,” Kareen said. “Get plenty of sleep, take deep breaths, accept help when you need it, and make friends with your pharmacists. Enjoy your child and love them.”