Salt Lake City, Utah (ABC4) — A West Haven teen recovering in the intensive care unit is lucky to be alive after breaking his neck in a skiing accident.
The road to recovery will be long, but Aza Topik’s family say he is a fighter. The family is overwhelmed by the community’s support and reassured by Aza’s resilience.
Aza Topik’s mother, Lori Buck, recounts the call she never thought she would get. The call was from her 18-year-old son Aza; when she answered, he said, “I fell, I can’t feel my legs, get up, get up.” She added, “He’s scared.”
The accident happened on Sunday. Buck told ABC4 that she and her husband got into the truck and drove from their home in Layton to the resort in Sedbon. She said going up the hill was terrible, adding: “I’m preparing for the worst. I’ve been playing. I’m thinking, ‘Oh my God. My God. This is it.'”
When Buck arrived, the paramedics were putting Azar into the ambulance. She got in the car and rode with her son to the hospital. “He kept asking, ‘Are my snow boots still there?’ He was very worried about whether he was putting them on or taking them off because he couldn’t tell.”
Fast forward five days, and Azar is still in the intensive care unit at Ogden McCarty Hospital. His family told ABC4 he fractured his C-5 vertebra and underwent surgery to fix the problem. Doctors told them there was a 5 to 10 percent chance Aza would be able to walk, according to the family.
Azar never lost consciousness after the accident, his father, Justin Topik, said. Despite the constant tension in the family, Aza remained steadfast in her will and belief in bettering herself. Topic underscores this tenacity by recounting an exchange the two had: “I told him the other day, ‘It’s okay when you have surgery.’ And he said, “Daddy, I’m not scared. ’ I said, ‘Azar, it’s normal to be afraid. Like, it’s okay. He said, ‘Daddy, I’m not afraid.’”
Aza lives in West Haven with his older brother, Jackson Topik. “Right now, he’s on a lot of drugs, and he’s a little less himself, if you will,” Jackson said. “I just want to see him come back, talk to him, joke with him like I used to, I just want to see him come home.”
During his hospitalization, Azar’s family never left his side. They have been amazed by the community’s support during this time. “My son, my son, to be loved by so many people is just overwhelming,” Barker said.
This love is shown in different ways, including the huge number of tourists who come to see Azar every day.
“He had about 20 friends visit him every day, and the ICU sort of kicked us out because we had so many visitors,” Kaylee Giles said. “So, the support he’s getting is crazy.” Giles is Azar’s sister-in-law.
The support doesn’t stop there. Azar is currently in between insurance. His new policy is scheduled to go into effect in January.a family member started GoFundMe account Help Aza pay the accumulated medical expenses.Barker told ABC4 that people across the country are seeing to fund me.
“It just goes to show you that there are so many amazing people in the world,” Justin Topic said. “Unless you’re going through a crazy test like this, you don’t notice, but, man, people are so kind. Someone anonymously donated $10,000.”
Aza has made progress over the past few days. He now has sensation in his upper body. When the nurse removed the stitches from one of Aza’s arms, it hurt, Topik told ABC4. While that sounds bad, the family is happy that Azar is in pain because it means he can feel it, Topik said.
Azar has also regained some mobility in his arms and can even sit up for 10 minutes, according to family members.
The family is concerned about Azar’s current condition and his recovery every day. However, they also have some plans for the future.
“I can solo skydive and Aza assured me that next year he’s going to skydive with me and get a license and that’s going to be something we do together,” Jackson told ABC4. “He assured me he would still do it. Also, David — our stepfather — was so afraid of heights that he wouldn’t fly without Xanax or some kind of painkiller that made him pass out, and he It was actually promised that he would skydive with us, so we absolutely wanted to do it and it would happen.”
“He’s always been a fighter, I know, I just know he’s going to kick this thing. He’s going to walk again,” Buck concluded.