As 10-year-old Joey Jacobsen lay in a coma from a woodcutting accident, prayers and positive messages from all over the United States embraced friends and family members keeping a vigil at his hospital bedside.
Joey, the son of Robbi and Tim Jacobsen of Minden, was critically injured Saturday when a tree fell on him while he was woodcutting in Markleeville.
He was taken by CareFlight to Renown Regional Medical Center in Reno where he remained in critical condition Wednesday in an induced coma.
Joey's family and friends have been keeping up-to-date on his progress through Caring Bridge, a Web service that connects family and friends during a hospitalization, treatment or recovery.
By noon Wednesday, more than 7,500 people had visited the Web site; nearly 650 left messages.
The Jacobsens are one of Carson Valley's oldest families. Joey's mother Robbi teaches at Gardnerville Elementary School where staff were praying twice a day for the injured boy. Tim Jacobsen operates a home maintenance business
Joey is the grandson of Betty Jacobsen and the late Sen. Lawrence E. Jacobsen.
Messages to the family came from classmates, family friends, and strangers who were touched by the incident and wanted to extend their greetings.
Joey's aunt, Debbie Jacobsen, said his parents find solace in the comments from people all over the United States.
"I got home from the hospital Tuesday night and I should have gone to bed, but I was up until 1 this morning reading these messages," Jacobsen said Wednesday. "It's amazing. Robbi and Tim go to that computer and read it. That's their hope. People give them hope."
The Jacobsens have adopted the motto "we believe." Many of the messages contained the phrase.
The word around Carson Valley on Wednesday was that people were painting "we believe" on their vehicles in yellow and black paint, the colors of Joey's baseball team, the Pirates.
Joey's cousin Jeremy Houser, who is writing the Web updates, urged everyone in Carson Valley to sport black and yellow ribbons or hang them outside their homes.
Debbie Jacobsen said Joey's father came up with "we believe."
"Sometimes hopes are getting down and people start losing faith," she said. "Tim said everybody has to believe. We all keep each other up. We have to believe Joey is going to get through this."
Pastor Eric Borchers of Trinity Lutheran Church, the family's church, said Tim Jacobsen's faith carries his family.
"His father's thinking was, 'I know God is here. I can feel His spirit. I know that everything is going to be OK," Borchers said.
Borchers said family and friends can see Joey through a window into his hospital room.
"We see the numbers on the screen and the numbers go up and the numbers go down. They are ever-changing. What is not changing is God's word that this family clings to very dearly. It is that God will never forsake them no matter what happens," Borchers said.
Borchers and his family were preparing Thanksgiving dinners to share at the hospital with the Jacobsens.
"There is a ton to be thankful for. Joey is still with us. Prayer definitely works. The fact that you are in communication with God is highly important. He knows what we are asking for. He tells us in words to pray for the desires in our hearts. Our desire definitely is to have Joey with us and watch him grow up," Borchers said.
YOU CAN HELP
-- Family friend Steve Stratton is donating proceeds from Christmas tree sales to the Jacobsens.
"It's something my heart told me to do," Stratton said. "This is a small town and I've known Tim my whole life. You can't heal the hurt, but maybe this will help down the road."
Stratton plans to start selling trees Saturday at the Stratton Center on Highway 395 in Gardnerville. He also will have a box for people who want to make donations to the family.
-- An account has been set up at the Bank of America in Minden, no. 5010-0730-0228, Joey's Donation, to assist the family with expenses not covered by insurance.
SEND A MESSAGE TO JOEY
Caring Bridge Web Site