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Cape Coral fundraiser bringing in funds for teen who survived rattlesnake bite

Cape Coral fundraiser bringing in funds for teen who survived rattlesnake bite
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CAPE CORAL, Fla. — Most parents would say that losing their child is one of their worst fears. For one Charlotte County couple, Albert and Jessie Gerhart, that almost became a reality for their fourteen year old son, J.J., when he was bitten by a rattlesnake last month.

They say that he practically grew up outdoors.

“I think the more that he’s sitting home and gets to look outside, the more he wants to be outside. Working his body towards getting there, he’s kind of pushing himself towards it,” explains Albert and Jessie.

It was that love for being outside that led him to sitting at home, after coming face to face with the snake.

“It was pretty scary. I got like three or four steps in to the ditch and I saw something hit my leg so I looked down and I saw the rattlesnake and it was a big one, it’s head was like the size of a baseball. I told my friend Wyatt, I was like ‘call 911, I just got bit by a rattlesnake’”

He says that he waved his arms up and down, trying to get people to stop. It wasn’t until some good samaritans on a golf cart saw him and picked him up that he finally got medical attention.

“I was happy to have family there and stay the night with me and I was never really alone, I always had mom or dad with me,” says J.J., of his two week stay in a nearby hospital.

His parents recalled the terrifying experience: “It was very intense, not knowing what to expect, because growing up you never know anybody to be bit by a rattlesnake.”

On Saturday, members of the community showed up to offer support at a fundraising event for J.J., whose family was saddled with the medical costs of his life-saving procedures.

Dr. Justin Kerr owns Burnt Store Animal Hospital, where J.J.’s mom works – he helped put the whole thing together.

“We stopped by here for a beverage and got talking to some good patrons and locals in Cape Coral and by the time we left here you know just telling about our experience, we had something moving,” explains Dr. Kerr.

The event came in the form of a silent auction, a raffle, and food – with all of the proceeds going to J.J.’s medical costs.

One of the more notable things were t-shirts for sale, with the words “Tougher Than a Rattlesnake” on the back, serving as an encouraging mantra as J.J. continues his recovery.

“It was unexpected at first, but we kind of accepted it with open arms now. Seeing the outcome is very humbling,” says Albert and Jessie, on the community support.

Written By

Avi Adkins is a seasoned journalist with a passion for storytelling and a keen eye for detail. With years of experience in the field, Adkins has established himself as a respected figure in journalism.

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