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that Ross's family sends out, please send your
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For a bibliography of traumatic brain injury research material
compiled by Ross's mother, Betsy Dillon, please
see the current update page.


Dreams can change in a heartbeat. The plans we've made suddenly take a back seat to reality, which is exactly what happened to Ross Dillon at approximately 2:50 in the afternoon on June 3, 2002 . The 25 year old cyclist was on a training ride on Occidental Road near Mills Station in Sonoma County, California.

The bike lane there is wide, the road wider still. It was a gorgeous day and we can only imagine what Ross was thinking. His marriage to Katie Meyers was just a little over two months away and he was getting ready to enter Boston College Law School in the fall after graduating cum laude from Santa Clara University with a BS in Economics. He'd taken a short break on a perfect spring day to take advantage of riding some of his favorite Sonoma County roads.

Suddenly a car drifted into the bike lane, hitting Ross from behind at approximately 50 miles per hour. He was catapulted up and over the hood of the car, striking his head on the car and shattering his helmet before being thrown in excess of 150 feet.

He probably should have died from the impact, but his body is that of a serious athlete: strong and fit from miles of training rides. Another thing in his favor: the good Samaritans who stopped to administer aid knew exactly what to do to keep him alive.

Less than an hour after impact he was in surgery at Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital. It would be hours later before his parents even knew their only son had been seriously injured, and his injuries are very bad.

Two weeks after the accident, Ross was still in a coma with severe brain trauma, his cervical fracture had been surgically stabilized and the abrasions and lacerations, including a fracture dislocation of his right elbow, had begun to heal. The initial swelling in his brain subsided enough that the doctors were able to replace the sections of his skull they had removed right after the accident. The original surgery was performed to reduce pressure and further injury to his brain.

On July 17, Ross was moved to rehab at Kentfield Rehabilitation Hospital. On August 22, he was moved to Marin General Hospital for surgery to install a shunt to treat hydrocephalus. He underwent further brain surgery to repair a previously undetected fracture, then developed pneumonia and septic shock. By October 10 he was well enough to leave Marin General, but not sufficiently recovered to return to Kentfield. He was moved to Herrick Hospital in Berkeley, a sub-acute care facility where he remained in a coma, however, he began to show enough improvement that he was returned to Kentfield rehab center on March 24, 2003.  

Unfortunately, Ross was not able to show enough improvement while at Kentfield to maintain insurance coverage for rehabilitation. Faced with the choice of warehousing Ross in a nursing home without any regular therapy, or taking him home where they could continue his therapy and treatment, Ross's parents choice to take him home. On June 7, 2003, one year and four days after the accident that forever changed so many lives, Ross returned to his home in Glen Ellen.

The Dillons were promised "seamless coverage" of therapists, aides and nursing care if they decided to take him home. Obviously, that hasn't happened. In order to bring in aides for a few nights a week as well as occasional nursing care, expenses are met out of pocket. Some of Ross's extensive therapy is being done by an amazing cadre of volunteers, but much of it must be paid for. Ross definitely appears to show improvement with therapy, but it's very expensive. Ross's parents, Rusty and Betsy Dillon, have asked me to thank all of you who have so generously donated to the Go Home Foundation, previously called the Dillon Family Fund. You can't possibly imagine how much your generosity is appreciated. Thank you very much.

Many local cyclists know Ross. He raced with Empire Velo, West Coast Cycling Team, Santa Clara University Cycling Team and, most recently, the Boston Bicycle Club.
He's funny, good hearted and smart, and a wonderful young man. Please keep him in your prayers and hold his family--his dad Rusty, mom Betsy and sisters Liz and Ariel in your thoughts as well. We'll try and keep a regular update of Ross's condition on the site, so check back often.
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On a personal note--Ross and our son Jon have been best friends since they started racing together on the Empire Velo Racing Team in Santa Rosa, CA as young teens. We think of Ross as another one of our kids. Just as his parents have done for our son, Doug and I have fed him meals, teased him unmercifully, hauled him to bike races and patched up a good share of road rash. This time the patching is out of our hands. All we can do is pray for his recovery and "hold the good thought," as one of my friends often says. Thank you so much for caring about Ross, for your prayers and your wonderful notes to him and to his family and loved ones. I believe Ross will truly be humbled by the outpouring of love and concern from so many people from so many places when he has finally recovered enough to read your messages.    

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