Nearly a month ago, two North County high school graduates were killed in an horrific crash that left fellow graduate Derek Thomas badly burned. A family member has been blogging about his recovery and today felt comfortable enough to disclose that Thomas had originally only been given a 2-percent chance at survival.

He is not out of the woods yet, but through the blog posts his family and doctors are described as “amazed” by his recovery. Here is their latest blog post. A link to one of the early stories about the crash can be found at the end of this story.

Friday, September 10, 2010 12:02 PM, PDT

Good Afternoon Dear Family & Friends! 
Today brings me great JOY to share with such good news!  Derek did really well in surgery this morning!  The surgical team was able to make more progress than originally planned for the day and noted that this was their most productive surgery!
Derek has the ‘wound vac’ now on both legs and the first one put on his right leg is doing exactly what it is supposed to do to aid the healing process!
Dr. Grossman placed a synthetic skin membrane called “Integra” on Derek’s chest and one of his forearms.  This is a relatively new reconstructive product that will help close the burn wound and generate a healed site for grafting……very cool!
They also continued preparing Derek for skin grafting as early as next week.
Throughout the procedure/surgery, Derek’s vitals remained stable and excessive bleeding was NOT an issue for concern!  Praise God!  That is so wonderful to hear, and I can hear the shouts of Joy and Happiness from you all!
Again, our DRock is an amazing young man, and we believe God has special plans for him.
I will share with you some very amazing statistics that the doctors just shared with Randy & Paula.  It is hard to read, but we are looking at the outcome now and we know from Derek’s strength and determination, that statistics are meant to be broken and revised!  The doctors originally gave Derek only  a 2% chance of survival one month ago today when he arrived!  How awesome is this – that exactly one month later, he has and continues to surpass all expectations!  The first week they upped the odds to 5%, and the following week to 20%. 
In short, Derek’s healing has surpassed expectations on all levels and the surgical team sees what Randy shared with them from the start “You don’t know my son; he is a strong boy, and determined beyond measure”.  They now know Derek, & have experienced his incredible resiliance and agree!  Yippeee!!
Now the doctors are preparing Randy, Paula and the girls for a long term stay.  Derek’s recovery will be 4 months to a year, depending on the time needed between surgeries.  Thank you Paula for the update information, and as she put it “The word for the weekend is HOPE!”
Of course we all know the incredible power of prayer and right where our true thanks goes to…… and that is our Lord God that He has a special plan for Derek, and has so graciously saved him and is continuing to heal him on a moment to moment basis. 
Derek is still not out of critical condition, and the doctors say that infection continues to be a possibility.  So we do continue our prayer efforts, and we thank you all for your loving, continuous, incredibly encouraging, love and support!

Someone mentioned a celebration BBQ when Derek has recovered – I can smell the burgers already!  🙂  What a celebration it will be, and we will be celebrating all of YOU as well, in your dedicated support of Derek and our family!

Have a wonderful weekend, I am so excited to go give Derek a hug and my family as well.  I will give it to him from us all, and I will visit with you again tomorrow!
Lots of love on behalf of our entire family, ~Aunt Trudi
(Our photo today is of Derek and his dog Clyde!  They are so cute!!)