By donating to Benefis Foundation's Angel Fund
, you can support families who must travel for children’s medical treatment. The Angel Fund Endowment can help support this wonderful program long into the future. Gifts of $1,500 or more to the endowment can qualify for the Montana Endowment Tax Credit.
Everything changed in a second for the Weir family when they collided with a truck between Great Falls and Belt.
Jen Weir and her youngest children Weston and Wakely, now 8 and 7, were terribly injured in the wreck. Wyatt, 10, and his dad, Tyler, did not survive.
"The three of us who survived are very blessed to be here today,” Jen said. “Ultimately, none of us should have made it that day."
Donors to the Benefis Foundation's Angel Fund and 221 Children’s Fund helped members of the Weirs’ extended family be with Weston and Wakely at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle while Jen recovered at Benefis. They had no time to pack and needed last-minute lodging, as well as meals and necessities.
"Angel Fund does help families. It's a really cool program — a blessing when the unexpected happens," Jen said. "It makes you feel very humble to have all this support. I expected my little hometown of Grass Range to be supportive, but I had no idea Great Falls would be so wonderful. It was amazing how many people stepped up, even across the state and country."
The whole family was so close to dying in the wreck, but help arrived immediately in the form of Benefis doctors and a nurse, Benefis Mercy Flight, and personnel from rescue and military agencies.
Weston had five broken bones, multiple rib fractures, blood on his lungs, a ruptured spleen, and a severe traumatic brain injury. Wakely, too, had a traumatic brain injury that required opening her head, plus a broken clavicle and unstable breathing. Jen had a traumatic brain injury, plus a lacerated liver, collapsed lungs, 14 fractures to her ribs, and a damaged aorta.
Angel Fund does help families. It's a really cool program — a blessing when the unexpected happens."
Wes and Wakely’s brain injuries were so severe they needed care in Seattle. Mercy Flight flew the children there — their first airplane rides.
“Mercy Flight saved the kids’ lives getting them to Seattle,” Jen said.
Jen hopes the wreck reminds people to take another perspective on life, knowing how quickly everything can change and to appreciate the good things of their lives.
“Something good has to come out of it,” she said. “I know it’s changed perspectives on how to live and how to treat other people. I hope people are more aware miracles can happen.”
Jen has kept faith in Weston and Wakely’s recovery. When she recovered enough from her own injuries to join her children in Seattle, doctors told her to brace for the worst. The odds were against Weston’s survival, let alone recovery.
“Here it is, not even a year later. I’m excited about his future,” she said. “God is good.”
Wes returned home in July. In September, Wes said his first words since the wreck, “Ni Way!” (Night, Wakes!) A few weeks later he managed actual sentences – sentences that showed his sense of humor, sassiness, and love for his family. Six months after the wreck, Wes remembered people he knew before his injuries. He can count to 20. He thumb-wrestles visitors and plans to be a dinosaur for Halloween. His therapists have him standing again and feeding himself.
Though he has only just regained the ability to speak and has a big mountain left to climb, Weston wanted to share his own message for donors who helped his family and the doctors who saved his life: “I’m grateful, too.”