“It’s a miracle that we have our son with us,” Ian Ciemania said.
On April 9, Ciemania’s 11-year-old son Carter Ciemania suffered a traumatic brain injury in what police are saying was an accidental shooting in Fairmont. Police have released few details about the events of that night.
“We’ve just picked up our lives and went on a full-force effort to position ourselves by his bedside,” Ciemania said.
On the night Carter was injured, he was flown to Ruby Memorial Hospital in Morgantown. According to a release, Carter has been through three major brain surgeries and nearly went into shock after a second surgery since he sustained the injury.
Ciemania said when Carter was taken to Morgantown, doctors told the family to essentially say their goodbyes. But since the night of Carter’s injury, faith has been something that Ciemania and his family have leaned on.
“We claimed from the beginning that we serve the Lord Jesus Christ and he has his hand on Carter and he has a plan for him, and he’s not done with him yet,” Ciemania said. “From that night on, that’s been our mantra.”
Ciemania said with Carter making it through the first night following his injury, the boy falls in the 90th percentile of those who survive such a traumatic injury.
“We give God every bit of glory for that,” Ciemania said.
On Monday, Carter was taken to the Kennedy Krieger Institute in Baltimore, Maryland, for more care.
“After much prayer and community support, he’s here and he’s doing well,” Ciemania said via phone Friday morning. “He’s exceeding (the doctors’) expectations already.”
Since suffering the injury, Ciemania said Carter has been taken off a ventilator and has been able to breathe without being hooked up to oxygen. Ciemania said Carter has also been able to open his eyes and connect with people while they walk across a room.
“He’s now following us and connecting with us while we engage with him,” Ciemania said. “Today he can turn his head and watch people throughout the room.”
Ciemania said Carter started working on speaking and swallowing Thursday. He has also started physical and occupational therapy at the Kennedy Krieger Institute.
“He’s participating more and more in physical therapy, and we’re just praying daily for the next stage in his healing,” Ciemania said.
Prior to the accident, Carter had displayed his talents through swimming competitively in Fairmont and being a blue-belt martial artist. Ciemania said Carter also excels at playing the classical violin and writing his own music.
“He’s just a brilliant kid,” Ciemania said. “He’s the most loving child that you can imagine.”
Ciemania said Carter is always reading and gaining knowledge and can be known as a social butterfly, making friends everywhere he goes.
“He’s an incredible joy to our family and to those that he meets,” Ciemania said. “He’s one in a million.”
A prayer vigil for Carter will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday, June 28, at Palatine Park.
Ciemania said he wants it to be clear that the reason Carter is here is “because of the prayers and the faith of the community and family.” He said the vigil is being put on by the community and that he is thankful for everyone’s support.
“They’ve been incredible,” Ciemania said.
Ciemania said knowing that so many people in the community have supported Carter with prayers shows how much the community is willing to give.
“They give so much of their time, effort and support to a family when they’re in need,” Ciemania said. “They become our family.”
Support and prayers for Carter have come from around the world. Ciemania said he knows of 16 countries that have been praying for his son.
“The Lord has picked Carter up every step of the way and has never let him down,” Ciemania said. “He’s holding him every single day.”
Email Emily Gallagher at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter @EGallagherTWV.