Even though the doctors initially told him he would need to stay in the hospital until Aug. 20, 12-year-old Gage Adam was determined to show his pig at the Delta County Fair. Although he improved from a serious injury at remarkable speed and made it home just in time for the fair, the story didn’t come without its fair share of hardship.

The injury first happened when Gage and his brother and cousins were playing outside, seeing how far they could throw small metal rods they had found. One of the rods fell straight down into Gage’s head, going 3 inches into his brain.

He was quickly flown to St. Mary’s Medical Center in Grand Junction, then flown again to Children’s Hospital in Denver. His parents had to leave behind a ranch and two other boys in Crawford to be with Gage while he recovered, but because of the support of the community, the situation was manageable for both parents. People from Gage’s family and community not only donated funds to go toward medical expenses, but also offered to help watch over the ranch.

“It relieved a lot of stress and worry for Nate [Adam] and I,” said Kim Adam, Gage’s mother. “We were able to truly focus on what we needed to do to help Gage recover and meet his goals. People are still offering that support. It’s incredible to know, and to have something like this happen in your own backyard and see the outpouring of support, people being there for each other.”

According to Adam, Gage recovered quickly, determined to make it back to his home in Crawford in time for the Delta County Fair.

“In the hospital we saw improvements really rapidly,” she explained. “The doctors were very impressed with how well he was recovering, and they were very shocked because it was a very rapid improvement on a daily basis. There’d be things that he couldn’t do one day and the next morning he was doing them.”

Gage was discharged from Children’s Hospital on Aug. 5 and showed up at the fair, ready to show and sell his pig, even if some adjustments had to be made before and during the event.

He still required a helmet to protect his head after having a part of his skull temporarily removed to allow his brain to swell, but Gage was able to show his pig (with the assistance of his mother) and ultimately sold it to Lightworks Fiber for $14,000, in addition to taking second in his class.

Following the initial sale, Adam said people started asking to add onto the original sale price, with so many people volunteering that they eventually had to take turns going from one side of the arena to another.

“It sold and then people just started throwing their hands up, saying they wanted to add this much, that much, anywhere from $200 to $5,000 extra. It was pretty incredible,” Adam said. “There were 44 total people that put in money on the pig, and 43 of those were add-ons.”

Gage’s pig ended up selling for a total of more than $50,000.

Adam emphasized that the community’s support was what made not only the Delta County Fair special, but proved the spirit of the entire community.

“[The community] stepped up for all of the kids Saturday. That was probably the best sale that I’ve seen in a long time,” Adam said. “The community really stepped up and reminded everybody what the county fair is all about. It’s not about the rodeos and evening acts, it’s truly about the kids and their animals and the hard work they put in day in and day out. It really paid off for all the kids this year.”

And for Gage, the experience itself was something he will most likely remember for the rest of his life.

“It was kind of like he couldn’t really believe that his pig sold for that much. That’s a lot of money for most adults, let alone a 12-year-old boy,” Adam said. “His pig was running all over the place and he couldn’t have cared less. I had several people tell me the smile on his face was worth all of it. He had a grin on his face from ear to ear showing that pig, and was so excited that he was back home.”

Gage is currently in the process of recovery, specifically with fine motor skills on his left side. However, considering the timeline of the injury, his mother said he has continued to recover and his perseverance hasn’t changed.

“It was just phenomenal how quickly he recovered, and his personality is still exactly what it was before. He’s still a big goofball. He’s still Gage,” Adam said. “If anybody knows him, he didn’t change at all, and when he gets stronger and doesn’t have that physical weakness on the left side, you won’t even know he had an injury.”

Although he still has a road of recovery ahead of him, Gage has already made significant progress and is returning to normalcy in multiple ways. He will continue to go to therapy and follow-up appointments, and had the piece of his skull replaced last week.

“He’s walking on his own; he still needs somebody walking next to him just in case he trips or someone bumps into him, so that if he goes to fall we can catch him,” Adam said. “He went back to school today, made it through the entire day, and still had energy to tell me about his day.”

Adam said although there were too many people to name individually, she hopes to express her gratitude to the community for banding together for Gage.

“What the community has done — not just the North Fork community but all of Delta County and surrounding areas — what they have done for us is incredible,” Adam said. “Our whole family would just like to thank everybody that supported us, whether it was offering to provide help on the ranch or watch over the other kids, or any of the financial help that people gave us. We just want to tell everybody thank you. It’s unbelievable the kind of support we got.”

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