NJ native recovering after road rage shooting took son’s life
COLTS NECK — It has been more than a month since New Jersey native Meghan Bigelow was involved in a road rage shooting that took the life of one of her sons and left her and another child battling serious injuries.
Bigelow and her three children were going to a dental appointment when their lives were turned upside down by a man who opened fire in the parking lot of a Colorado business.
Jeremy Webster, 23, was charged with first-degree murder, five counts of attempted murder and four counts of assault.
In the aftermath, a GoFundMe was established to help the family. As the Bigelow and her son recover, and as the family mourns the loss of the other son more steps are being taken to help them as well.
A group calling itself BigelowStrong is organizing a 5K in Colorado to help raise money for the family, and is also putting together a silent auction. One of the people helping with the events is Ashley Wilkinson who is a member of the LifeTime Tri Team, of which Bigelow's husband Vaughn is a member. Wilkinson said she has known Vaughn and the family for around three years and called them "just really good people."
"They both come from great families, great backgrounds," she said. "Just a beautiful family inside and out. They're the kind of people who would help anyone at the drop of a hat. We just want to be those people for them now in their time of need."
In the month since the shooting, a Caring Bridge site has been established to chronicle the long recovery process for Bigelow and her 8-year-old son Asa. Both have been through multiple surgeries, including a tracheotomy for the boy. Occupational therapy, physical therapy, and other treatments are daily events for both, and Wilkinson said the family is focused on doing whatever they can to help them through the recovery process.
Bigelow's other son, 12-year-old Cooper, was able to escape the incident unharmed, and the Caring Bridge page describes his regular trips with his dad to see his mom and brother in the hospital.
In a Caring Bridge post from June 20, the writer notes that "Vaughn Sr. has held strong throughout the week."
"There is no preparation for this. There is no coach that can help you learn along the way. And there is no pause button so that he can sit down and take a breath," the post said. "He shows great compassion and sympathy towards Meghan and Asa. He has learned how to make time to connect with Cooper during the biggest event of their life. And he does it with compassion and grace."
What is perhaps the most powerful post on the Caring Bridge page was written on July 8 by Vaughn Sr. on what would have been Vaughn Jr.'s 14th birthday. He talks about waking up, going for a jog and going to the memorial set up for his family and straightening it up. He also talked about the work between the family and the two hospitals Meghan and Asa are at that worked to bring the family together on the day.
"Meghan and Asa shared their war wounds, read a book, and did the best they could to hug while both being stuck in chairs," he said. "We know that next time will be even better and better the time after that and so on ... If there was a way to celebrate for all the wrong reasons .. today was it."
"We spend much of our time trying to figure out if we should be happy or sad," he continued. "Today was no different but at the end of a very emotional day Meghan and I were in different hospitals across town and each saw a different rainbow. We decided that it was Bubba saying hi to both of us in his colorful way. We miss him so much ... he was such a good kid and made the world a brighter place."
The 5K is scheduled for the morning of August 5, and Wilkinson said they already have more than 100 participants signed up, raising more than $5,000 for the family. Those who can't make it to Colorado for the event can still bid on a variety of items in the online silent auction. The GoFundMe page has raised more than $245,000 for the family in about a month, and is still accepting donations.
Wilkinson said another lesson learned through this experience is the importance of donating blood. There have been blood drives organized in the Colorado area in honor of the family, which has benefitted directly from donations since the shooting.
"That was a big contributing factor into them surviving," she said. "It was the blood that Meghan and Asa received."
Having just given blood yesterday Wilkinson said she was told that while 70 percent of the population is eligible to donate blood only about five percent actually do, and said "you never know when someone's going to need it."
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