Hundreds showed up at 4Squared Auto Care in Scotts Valley on Sunday to help and support Masai Kenyatta, a 30-year old Santa Cruz native who was hospitalized recently with encephalitis, a swelling of the brain, that left him with collapsed lungs, unconscious and paralyzed.
The good news is that people showed up to have fun and donate money to help pay for any medical bills and living expenses that Kenyatta may have in the future. But the even better news is that according to his dad Simba, Masai is doing much better since he was first hospitalized on Aug. 24.
“He’s doing remarkably well,” Simba said. “And I keep telling him, ‘I don’t use the word remarkable very often dude, but what you're doing is remarkable,’ and even the doctors think so.”
In fact, Simba said that Masai’s progress is so quick and astounding that one of the doctors in the hospital ran and grabbed another when he moved just a little bit to witness the small, yet, amazing progress.
But it has been a rough road for the Kenyatta’s so far and at one point Simba, along with the family, had the thought that Masai might not pull through the rare disease, with occurs in approximately 0.5 per 100,000 individuals, most commonly in children, the elderly, and people with weakened immune systems.
“I was trying anything I could to get him to try to open his eyes,” Simba said. “We were scared, at one point we were really, really scared because the doctors didn’t know if he was going to make it or not.”
However, Masai has vastly improved and is now conscious and has feeling down to about his stomach, Simba said.
As for the fundraiser, Masai’s girlfriend Trista Bracken said she couldn’t be happier with the folks that showed up to support Masai through this tough time.
“A lot of friends, a lot of family and people from out of town came up to just come out here and support him," Bracken said. “Donation after donation, it’s amazing. The love for Masai is unbelievable, for the city and everybody to come together in such a short amount of time to show this much support is just remarkable.”
And at one point during the fundraiser, Masai, who is still in the hospital, was put on the PA system and was able to talk to everyone via the phone.
Organizers, Melissa Curtis of 4Squared Auto Care, and Eric and Crystal Crafton, wanted to put the fundraiser together so that Masai can worry more about recovery time and getting better rather then medical expenses and how the bills going to get paid.
“He thinks all the people, all the energy, and all the love has gotten him to where he is,” Simba said. “He’s got so many people behind him and I love it.”
For those that were not able to attend but still wish to donate, visit http://www.youcaring.com/fundraiser_details?fundraiser_id=9169&url=teammasaikenyatta