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'One day at a time': Colorado community supports family of teen critically injured in car crash

Basketball game, choir concert become fundraisers for Price family
'One day at a time': Community supports family of teen critically injured in car crash
Posted at 10:28 AM, Dec 14, 2022
and last updated 2022-12-14 12:28:35-05

HIGHLANDS RANCH, Colo. — As a 17-year-old Cherry Creek High School student was leaving school on Dec. 8, he was critically injured in a car crash, his family says.

17-year-old Makai Price's eighteenth birthday is coming up at the end of December, but his father believes it may be spent in the hospital.

“It's going to be long haul for Makai. We might be at the hospital for about a month or two," said Jerome Price, Makai's father. “He's a soft-spoken kid, all people love. He's adorable. He's shy sometimes, you know, but he just likes basketball, football and track.”

Makai is receiving care for several injuries at the hospital, which include a broken pelvis, spine fracture, neck fracture, and blood clots in his kidneys and lungs. According to a GoFundMe account created for the Price family, the No. 1 priority for doctors is saving Makai's legs from amputation.

“One day at a time. If he doesn't have any legs, guess what? He's still our kid. He's going to come home to us. And we're waiting for him," Jerome said.

On Tuesday evening, Rock Canyon High School's basketball team played Cherry Creek High School. Makai attended Rock Canyon High School before switching to Cherry Creek High School, and was well-known by most players on the court that night.

“He's a great competitor, obviously. I love playing against him. He always had a great attitude," said Aidan Peck, a senior basketball player for Rock Canyon High School. “Obviously, this game is for him. Our whole team's already discussed that. Win or lose, I think it's going to be an emotional night for both teams.”

In honor of Makai, attendees wore green, which is his favorite color. The game also served as a fundraiser for the Price family to help with medical expenses.

Jerome works at Rock Canyon High School in several roles, ranging from a coach to an educational assistant helping special needs students. The impact Jerome has made on the school was tangible in the gym on Tuesday night. It was also felt just a few minutes away at a Rock Canyon High School choir concert on the same evening.

“Jerome Price is one of the most lovely human beings on our planet," said Julia Dale, the director of vocal music at Rock Canyon High School. "We have a lot of special needs students in choir because it's something that they can participate in 100% and we love them for that. And he (Jerome) works with them every day... He oozes love into all of his students, and we just feel like it's our turn to return some of that love to him.”

Dale said the choir concert was also transformed into a fundraiser for the Price family, and she believes the support shown by the community is a reflection of who the Price family is.

“We've all been there, right, when we're in the ER or in the hospital, and we're worried about the paycheck. And is it going to cover this expense? And if we can just remove that worry so that they can focus on filling him (Makai) with love, I think that's the best gift we could give them this season," Dale said. “It's our turn to give back, and in this season where giving and love are so important, let's give our love and our gifts to that family right now.”

The verified GoFundMe fundraiser has raised more than $113,000 as of Wednesday morning. No details on the crash were available.