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Brewer Recovering from Lightning Bolt

Mom thankful for all the support after her son is struck by lightning on Siesta Key .
Updates (65)
July 13, 2023

by Barbara Brewer, Organizer


On July 14th 2020, my sweet little family boarded a plane to Fort Lauderdale, Florida. One last vacation before school starts, and Jacob starts marching band practice. We were so excited and couldn’t wait to get to the beach. We rented a car and drove across Florida to Siesta Key. We grabbed some groceries and headed to our little rental on the beach. The first day was beautiful and relaxing – just what we needed after dealing with lockdowns all spring. Then the following morning, Jacob was extremely tired and said he couldn’t fall asleep because he had nightmares that someone was chasing him all night! We told him to sleep a little longer. If I had known what would happen next, I would have told him to stay in bed all day.

Jacob and I joined Jeremiah and Ashley on the beach. It was a beautiful summer day, not a cloud in the sky. We had sandwiches on the beach and soaked up the sun.

Then the sky over the water started to darken a little. It was still far away. No lightning. No thunder. People were still on the beach. I told my husband we should go soon and take the kids to get ice cream. A few minutes later, that dark cloud was moving faster. We picked up our stuff and started walking off the beach. Suddenly there was a flash, and I found myself on my hands and knees, ringing in my ears. I looked over, and Jacob was standing, eyes rolled back, foam coming out of his mouth, and his face turning blue. Jacob had been struck by lightning! Then he dropped to the ground and I started screaming “JACOB!” My husband looked back, ran over to Jacob, and started shaking him. He was in cardiac arrest and needed CPR NOW! I looked around and said, please help; he needs CPR. Two men ran over and started doing CPR.

After 5 minutes of continuous CPR, the storm broke on top of us. The lightning flashed around us, The rain pouring down, the wind blowing sand in our faces, and trying desperately to revive Jacob. We had to get off the beach. My husband and these men picked up Jacob’s lifeless body and carried it for 50 yards to the beach access. Mark Eve, a sheriff’s deputy, came running up and said drop him! He started doing CPR again, trying desperately to save our son. Finally, they got a beach cart to us in the storm, risking all their lives to save our son’s life. They brought him to the ambulance. Forty-five minutes later, they resuscitated Jacob and transferred him to Tampa Bay General Hospital. After fighting for his life for weeks due to the extreme extent of his injuries, we learned that the lightning also damaged his spine and nerves, leaving his legs paralyzed.

Tomorrow morning I will be traveling 1000 miles to the very beach Jacob was struck on to pass out flyers to share Jacob’s story and raise awareness.

One of our followers, Paula Hillard, has been sending Jacob cards and has become family and is graciously allowing me to stay with her. Jacob has fought hard, and his fight to walk again is far from over. We could use help as Jacob’s newest physical therapy isn’t covered by insurance and costs $600-$900 a week; we still need to remodel the bathroom; the price quoted was $12,000-$15,000, and we are hoping to be able to do a new medical breakthrough treatment in Mexico that costs $55,000 for their 28-day protocol, and usually needs to be repeated 2-3 times.

We are extremely thankful to everyone for all the love, support, and prayers. It is truly a miracle Jacob survived, and we thank God every day that he is with us. We couldn’t have gotten him this far and saved his legs if it wasn’t for you guys. If you bought a shirt, please send me pictures of you wearing them. Let’s make Jacob’s story go viral. Times are tough for many, if you cannot support them financially we completely understand. Prayers for Jacob are greatly appreciated! Sharing his story is much appreciated too! Thank you! To all of our Siesta Key and Sarasota followers stop by and see us on Sunday July 16th from 11-3.

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