ATLANTIC HIGHLANDS, NJ – Your eyes open and your feet hit the floor. You comb your hair, brush your teeth and wash the sleep from your body. Another day begins and you are ready to face the tough challenge of earning a living. That pretty much described Ian Silakowski’s life on September 26, 2014.
On September 27, 2014, with absolutely no warning, Ian Silakowski, 27 year old man from Atlantic Highlands, and a 2005 graduate of Henry Hudson Regional School, became unable to move or breathe on his own. He was rushed to Community Medical Center in Toms River. Later taken by Medivac to the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, where after several weeks he was diagnosed with transverse myelitis. This condition left Ian dependent on a respirator and paralyzed from the neck down.
In the months since, he has made incredible progress.
In December, he started his rehabilitation at Kessler Institute in West Orange and was later transferred to Bayshore Health Center in Holmdel where he continued to receive rehabilitation treatment that enabled him to be weaned off the respirator.
He receives occupational, physical, and speech therapy. And he now gets around with the use of a special wheelchair.
Past fundraisers have helped the family prepare his mother, Doreen Silakowski's home for Ian’s current needs. Adjustments included a new bathroom and bedroom on the 1st floor to accommodate his disabilities.
The Atlantic Highlands Police Benevolent Association, Local #242 tonight made a donation of $12,000 to help defray the cost of a van to help transport Ian and his wheelchair.
Over the years, the Atlantic Highlands PBA has donated the proceeds of its annual PBA Ball to several local organizations. In recent years, the Atlantic Highlands First Aid Squad, the Henry Hudson and Atlantic Highlands Elementary schools, the AH Historical Association, the Friends of Atlantic Highlands Library, the Genevieve Hawley Foundation which provide scholarships to local students, and many others have been the beneficiaries of the Police Benevolent Association funds.
“We try and stay local,” said PBA President Steve Vogt. “We felt it was important to do because of (Ian’s) difficult and tragic condition and we wanted to make things a little easier for him.”
There remains a great financial need for the family.
If you wish to make a donation, you may contribute through the website: https://www.crowdrise.com/TheSilakowskiFamily.