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Devyn Naude Fund
Naude Fund cam
Naude Family - photo by Special
    Devyn Naude is a fighter.
    Doctors said the 22-year-old Statesboro man would be paralyzed from his jaw line down after an Oct. 19 crash on Ga. 24  left one woman dead and Naude critically injured. But today, he is able to move his arms and hands, and navigate around using an electric wheelchair.
    Still, he and his family face a difficult road ahead. With two children – Kammi, 2, and Ashtynn, 15 months, he and his wife Bethany Brazil Naude are facing mounting bills, ongoing expenses, and time away from family.
    Bethany's mother, Mary Helen Brazil, keeps the children so they can remain in the daycare where they have been staying. But Devyn is struggling with rehabilitation at Shephard's Spinal Center in Atlanta,with Bethany there with him to learn how to help care for him.
    It is usually very late when she returns to the small hotel room after staying with her husband all day. "I am his nurse while I am there – I am being trained to take care of him," she said Thursday during lunch with her sister in Statesboro. Bethany tries to come home once a week, and her family makes a trip weekly to Atlanta as well.
    It is hard for all involved, but "I'm doing OK," she said. "I have to be strong for him. It's hard to be away form my family, but we're getting a lot of support."
    Devyn was working, driving a dump truck Oct. 19 when a woman crossed over the center line and struck him head on, according to Georgia State Patrol reports. The woman died, and reports do not list reasons she may have left her lane on Ga. 24 and veered in front of Naude.
    Doctors warned the family that Devyn wouldn't be able to move from his jaw down, but "six hours after surgery, he was moving his shoulders," Bethany said.
    Now, he can move his arms, has limited movement in his hands, but can't yet move his fingers.
    "Is he a fighter? Yes, very much so," Bethany said.

Fund to help family
    While Devyn fights to recover, however, the family faces other issues. He cannot work, and while Bethany cares for him, she cannot work, either.
    The children are still in day care, and traveling costs are constant. That's why Bethany's sister Amanda McQuaig and Brazil decided to open a fund for the young couple.
    Donors can contribute to the Devyn Naude Fund at Farmers & Merchants Bank, McQuaig said,.
    "Bethany is learning how to help Devyn and  they may be (at the hospital ) until February," she said. "Then they will stay in housing in Atlanta for a few more months."
    Devyn broke his neck, his fifth vertebrae, and his left foot, she said. His spinal cord is pinched from the injuries.
    "Life is almost at a standstill for them," Brazil said. "This has turned their lives around completely."
    The children "are having a vacation at Mimi's," Bethany said about Kammi and Ashtynn spending time with her mom. "We didn't want to take them out of day care" and having them stay with her mother allowed that, she said.
    Brazil said she enjoys spending time with her grandchildren, but became emotional when speaking of how the accident will affect them.
    Devyn "used to play ball with them," she said. "He taught Kammi how to do somersaults and stand on her head."
    Kammi was a bit "standoffish" when met with her father in a wheelchair, but soon came around to realize he was still daddy, she said.
    "We're thankful he still has his mind and his memory," she said. "At least they still have their Daddy and can talk to him and see him."
    But it isn't easy on anyone, especially her son-in-law, she said. The family spent Thanksgiving with Devyn in Atlanta, and "you could tell it took a toll on him ... everyone walking around, and he's in his wheelchair."
    The family appreciates all offers and donations, but "prayers – that's what we're really asking for," Bethany said. "He's doing really great, therapy is good, and they took his neck brace off today. His spirits are high, and we're just trusting in the Lord. He's the only one who can get us through it all."
    "We're hoping and praying for a miracle," Brazil said.
    Anyone who wishes to help the Naude family can donate to the Devyn Naude Fund at Farmers& Merchants Bank by visiting the bank or mailing a check to FMB, 201 North Main Street, Statesboro, GA 30458. For more information, people can contact Brazil at 489-1228.
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