By all accounts, Mikey Murphy is a good-natured, outgoing and loving 14-year-old. But right now, he’s ready to fight.
On June 18, Mikey was walking across the field behind Town Hall to meet up with his friends to attend the . That’s when life changed for Mikey, his friends and family, and that’s when Mikey started the fight for his life.
Mikey’s friends found him face down on the ground, and no one knows how long he was there for. He was rushed to Winchester Hospital before doctors eventually moved Mikey to his current room in Boston Children’s Hospital.
Doctors ruled out drugs and believe he had a heart attack that day in the park. Most frustrating is that the medical team remains baffled as to what cause the episode.
After 10 days in the hospital, Mikey has yet to wake up and doctors say there is damage to most of his brain. There have, however, been several positive signs. Last Thursday, he opened his eyes for the first time. Since then, he typically does so at least once a day.
“The first time he opened his eyes, I just ran to his side,” said Mikey’s father, Mike. “It was like he was just born again.”
Then, on Sunday night, Mikey moved his arm from the elbow down.
“They won’t say much on how much he’ll progress. They said he most likely would be lucky to eat again,” said Mike. “I believed otherwise as soon as I walked out of there. I’ve seen improvement every day with him.”
According to Mikey’s mom, Cindy, the mystery of her son’s illness isn’t just baffling the family.
“We’re frustrated, but the cardiologist is too because they don’t understand how a healthy 14-year-old can just have a heart attack,” said Cindy, who had just said goodbye to her son minutes before he collapsed. “It’s a mother’s worst nightmare. My heart just sank.”
There has been one positive to come out of this traumatic experience for the Murphy family. In the days since Mikey was admitted to the hospital, the Wilmington community forged together impressively thanks to residents of all ages.
On Sunday, a group of Wilmington Middle School students organized a kickball game for “Team Mikey” that raised over $1,000. In addition, there is a Facebook page called Team Mikey that as of 11 a.m. on Tuesday featured 1,076 followers.
“It was amazing how many people could come together,” said Jordan DiBenedetto, the organizer of the game. “(Mikey) was a likeable person from the start. He’s funny and always puts everyone in a good mood. I would always go to him when I needed someone to cheer me up, and he always knew how to make me feel better.”
In the initial days that Mikey was in Boston Children’s Hospital, there was a seemingly never-ending line of visitors. Over 100 of Mikey’s classmates carpooled or took the train in to see their friend.
“They comfort me with all of their love and support,” said Mike. “Like I told my wife, we couldn’t have moved to a better town. Wilmington is so close knit. They don’t stop. It’s just amazing. That feels really good in my heart. I get stressed out, and when I do I read a card or see something the kids gave him. That relieves my stress. This community has given me the stress relief I need.”
Mike Murphy doesn’t know exactly what the future holds for his son. But there’s one thing he knows for sure.
“When he does wake up, I’m just going to tell him I love him and we are going to fight this together,” he said. “That’s all I want. We’re going to fight with him and I’m sure all the students will support him too no matter what shape he’s in.”