Michael Goebel suffered a brain injury when he was hit by a car on June 21. (Source: Steven Richard/WAVE 3 News)
Hundreds of people turned out for a benefit at Chubby Ray's Original Louisville Pizza Company on June 15. (Source: Steven Richard/WAVE 3 News)
Krista and Shawn Goebel (Source: Steven Richard/WAVE 3 News)
LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - The city of Jeffersontown is rallying behind a boy and his family after he was seriously injured when his bike was hit by a car.
An amazing crowd of hundreds turned out to Chubby Ray's Original Louisville Pizza Company on July 15 to help 12-year-old Michael Goebel. Restaurant owner Ray Perkins said that in his 22 years in business, he's never seen that many people at his restaurant.
"They are parked across the street, a block away and walking," Perkins said of the crowd.
Friend Stacie Jones agreed: "It's unbelievable."
It was a show of love and friendship for a Carrithers Middle School student described as funny, smart and a bit of a ladies' man.
In numbers and in action, family, friends and even basketball coaches teamed up for Goebel. Bellarmine Head Basketball Coach Scotty Davenport was among those on stage pumping up the silent auction items and offering four front row basketball tickets. Supporters are doing what they can because they can't imagine the pain of seeing their child go from an A student to a 12-year-old battling a serious brain injury.
Michael's father Shawn Goebel explained what happened to his son on June 21: "He was at a friends house. They were going to get gas to mow a lawn."
Michael and his friend were both on a bicycle getting ready to cross a busy and dangerous stretch of old Six Mile Lane. "He followed his friend, and his friend made it across the street. [Michael] didn't," Goebel said.
Hit at full speed by a van, Michael was rushed to Kosair Children's Hospital. Now, therapy has Michael making progress.
"He smiles and he cries," Goebel said.
"He laughs," said Michael's mother Krista.
Immediately after the accident, teachers and staff from Carrithers, where Michael's sister is also a student, contacted WAVE 3 News anchor Dawne Gee, asking her to Pass The Cash to Michael's family. Their thoughtfulness overwhelmed Krista Goebel outside the hospital.
Two surgeries and three weeks later, the support hasn't stopped. From proceeds from Chubby Ray's Pizza to silent auction items like Indianapolis Colts tickets, Caribbean trips, raffles and t-shirt sales, friends thought of everything they could to raise money.
"Michael is going to need a lot of care, and [his parents are] going to need extra funds to pay the bills," said Carrithers counselor Robbyn Lafollette.
"This community is just unbelievable, and Jeffersontown especially," said Shawn Goebel, "but I believe in prayers now, more so than I ever did."
Jeffersontown City employees also raised money for the family, and Police Chief Rick Sanders took it to the family Tuesday morning.
As for the investigation into the accident, Sanders said the driver faces charges of driving with a suspended license but police believe it was just a tragic accident.