STONY POINT - Paul Conticelli's injuries have largely healed, but he is still living with the effects of being struck by a car four months ago.Have you seen "Sicko" yet? (The link is to a review in my other blog.) Once you do, the very idea of having to pay for medical bills with fundraisers, raffles, wristbands, and collection jars on counters of businesses will make you angry. It should make you angry anyway.
Conticelli, who turned 20 last month, has double vision and blurry vision in his right eye, so he's not allowed to drive alone. He can't stand for more than 30 minutes before his feet start to hurt. He sees a doctor every Tuesday to get persisting bedsores checked.
"I guess the hardest part is really realizing I'm not 100 percent yet," Conticelli said recently.
On March 25, Conticelli was hit by a drunken driver while on spring break in Cancun, Mexico. The Stony Point man suffered serious injuries, including a cracked skull and a fractured left leg, and was put in a medically induced coma.
Conticelli's medical bills add up to well over $150,000, says his mother, Paula. The expenses the family incurred in Mexico total more than $50,000, much of which is out-of-pocket.
Since learning of Conticelli's plight in The Journal News in May, Rockland residents and businesses have donated about $13,000 to the family. People have sent checks from $5 to $1,600.
Businesses have put collection jars on counters, and friends have sold $5 wristbands honoring Conticelli, Paula Conticelli said.
More help is on the way, with four fundraisers planned for this month. They include a cruise night and raffle by a Rockland antique car club, a golf outing, proceeds from a Stony Point playhouse and a percentage of sales from a Garnerville hair salon.
"I'm overwhelmed by the love and the support," Paula Conticelli said. "People have been so kind and so giving of their time."
Paula Conticelli is still sorting out her son's medical coverage. Not only was Paul Conticelli under his stepfather's and his biological father's health-insurance plans, he also bought traveler's insurance.
"I probably have four stacks of bills that are about 4 inches high on my dining room table," Paula Conticelli said recently.
Paul Conticelli plans to return to the University of Delaware and his Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity in the fall. He's looking forward to attending the fundraisers.
"I don't know if I can stay too long," he said. "Sometimes I get really tired from standing too long. But I want to show my appreciation."
The address for contributions to help with the expenses is in the box above.
Friends, family help Stony Point student hit by drunken driver