2018-09-14 / Community

Man’s recovery will be long

By Abigail Worthing
Staff Writer

SACO – Following an accident involving one of their own, the north Saco community has come together to raise money to help the family, but they’ve only just begun. During a Beech Ridge Motor Speedway Day of Destruction event Aug. 18, Phillip Bowley of Heath Road, 29, was participating in the “backwards race” in which participants race their cars in reverse along the track, when he crashed his car into a stack of tires.

“He was trapped in the car for 40 minutes while they tried to get him out. I wasn’t there, I never go because I’ve always been afraid of this,” said his mother, Cindy Bowley.

As a result of the accident, Phillip has a fractured neck and an injury to his spinal cord, leaving him unable to move from the neck down. Due to intense trauma and swelling, doctors at Maine Medical Center in Portland are still discerning the extent of the damage, and Phillip’s family, especially his mother, have been by his side day and night. Although his injuries are severe, doctors have been vigilant in his care and are working to try and help him regain as much mobility as possible.

“We’re hoping to get him back on the golf course, but it’s definitely a long road back,” Cindy Bowley said.

The Bowley family is now working with doctors to ensure that Phillip gets the best chance possible, which includes scheduling his transfer to the Shepherd Center in Atlanta for more intensive rehabilitation for the severe spinal cord injury. As Phillip is currently paralyzed, to make the transfer he will need to take an Angel Flight, part of a program in which a pilot will donate their time to help those with medical needs that cannot be met by a commercial airline. Phillip and his mother will fly together, and she plans to stay with him in Georgia for the foreseeable future. According to Cindy Bowley, he will likely need another two and a half months of intensive care, followed by another four months of day therapy.

Phillip is a 2007 Thornton Academy graduate, and prior to the accident he worked at Penske Truck Rental in Scarborough as a heavy truck mechanic. According to Cindy Bowley, the fact that he has good health insurance has been a silver lining. However, the out-of-pocket costs have been piling up for the family.

“Every time we turn around there’s something else popping up. The out of pocket costs are just incredible,” she said.

Since the accident, two fundraisers have taken place, during which two local farms, Grant Family Farm and Leary Family Farm, donated all sales from their respective farm stands to the Bowleys on the weekend of Aug. 24. The Grant family also organized a bake sale, where neighbors of Phillip and the Bowley family could donate baked goods. According to Vanessa Grant, proprietor Ben Grant’s wife, one neighbor and longtime friend of the Bowley family even went as far as to make relish for the sale, made from Phillip’s grandmother’s recipe. The two sales raised nearly $3,000 for the family. Phillip has been a longtime family friend to both the Grant and Leary families, having done mechanical work at both farms, and is good friends with Kevin Leary, the oldest son of Leary Family Farm proprietor Tim Leary.

“The community has just been outstanding,” said Cindy Bowley in an email responding to the fundraisers. “It really is an amazing world when business people and community members put everything out there to help someone else. In this fast-paced world of selfishness and greed and everyone being all about ‘me, me, me’ it’s truly refreshing to find people who care so much about someone else.”

The community isn’t done helping the Bowley family. Support for them is widespread, and three more fundraisers to help pay for Bowley’s medical expenses have been planned. Chaps Saloon in Buxton will donate the space at no charge to host a fundraiser dance for Phillip, while a group of Bowley’s friends in Saco have also coordinated a dance to benefit their friend, both of which will be held during coming months. At Fairgrounds Pizza and Pub in Cornish is an ongoing raffle to aide Bowley, selling $2 tickets for a drawing to win a wooden Corona cooler and a $50 gift certificate to the restaurant.

“Everything helps. He’s looking at a long recovery and we’ll need to remodel his house to help him navigate it, so I know costs will keep adding up,” Cindy Bowley said. “We are just so touched by all the help we’ve received. We’re so lucky to come from such a great community.”

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