Jake Mitchell, a 22-year-old U.S. Air Force veteran, is reportedly fighting for his life in an intensive care unit in San Antonio after his lung collapsed on May 27, San Antonio’s KENS5 reports.
Left without health insurance, Mitchell reportedly drove himself three hours from Del Rio, Texas, to Audie Murphy Memorial Veterans Affairs Hospital, the nearest VA facility.
Now in critical condition, Mitchell isn’t just facing hours of fear and uncertainty in the Audie Murphy ICU — he has to face them alone.
Mitchell’s solitude is a product of circumstance rather than familial callousness. The young vet’s girlfriend, who is from Del Rio, came to visit him in San Antonio but had to return to work over Memorial Day weekend, and he reportedly doesn’t have close family nearby. His mother, lost her job and can't afford to buy a plane ticket to San Antonio from her home in Ohio.
"I'm a little nervous about it just because anything could happen," Mitchell told KENS5.
In an effort to help, family friend Victoria Bartkiewicz-Stansberry set up a YouCaring fundraiser to reunite Stine with her son. So far, more than 150 people have donated over $8,000, and Stine has been overwhelmed by the kindness of others.
“Andrea currently is trying to coordinate things on her end and as fast as humanly possible,” Bartkiewicz-Stansberry wrote on the YouCaring page.
If you want to help, the YouCaring page is still live, and there are a number of organizations, like the Fisher House Foundation, which help provide military families housing and assistance when their loved one is hospitalized for an illness or injury. And you can always contact Audie Murphy Memorial Veterans Affairs Hospital through the VA: No veteran should have to experience something like this alone.