LEWISTOWN - After returning home from vacation with a bout of car sickness, Dale Treaster, of Lewistown, stumbled into his house and collapsed, hitting his head on a nearby table, splitting his skull from forehead to cheek.
He was immediately transported to Lewistown Hospital, where doctors discovered a large blood clot on the right side of his brain, sustained in the fall. Treaster was then flown to Geisinger Medical Center in Danville, where he underwent two surgeries and began a difficult recovery process.
"The first time we saw him it was awful," said Linda Pennington, Treaster's grandmother. "Each time we came back to visit we hoped to see improvement, but it was a long process. We love Dale so much and it broke our hearts to see him like he was."
Treaster remained in the Geisinger ICU for 19 days, dealing with a feeding tube after losing control of his swallowing muscles, imbalances in temperature because of brain swelling and difficulty moving after losing control of his entire right side.
"It was a constant battle for him during recovery," said Felisha Hook, the mother of one of Treaster's sons. "He's come through a lot. Through the whole thing, he's been pushing and pushing to be stronger. The motivation is there."
On Aug. 31, Treaster was moved to Mount Nittany Health South, in Pleasant Gap, for extensive speech and physical rehabilitation. Though it's only been five days since he started rehab, he's been making great progress and looking better every day, Pennington said.
"We're amazed at how much better he looks," Pennington said. "It's just a miracle. There's prayers coming for him from all over and all around us."
A benefit yard sale is being held from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sept. 13 and 14 at the Burnham Jamboree grounds to raise money for Treaster's medical expenses. Mindy McKnight, a friend of Treaster's from high school, is organizing the event.
"I know what it's like to have financial burdens and I wanted to help," McKnight said. "All proceeds are going to Dale and whatever he needs it for."
McKnight is accepting yard sale item donations until Monday. For more information, contact her at 437-1847.
A donation account called A Prayer of Hope for Dale Treaster has also been set up at Juniata Valley Bank. Those interested in donating can contact the bank for more information or visit the Prayer of Hope for Dale Treaster Facebook page.