Donelle Forbes
A car wash and other activities have raised thousands of dollars to help pay the medical bills of Teancum Forbes.

ST. GEORGE — Dixie State College cheerleader coach Donelle Forbes is certain she named her 22-month-old son, Teancum, after a great military leader for a reason.

Just three months ago, Teancum was literally fighting for his life after he was run over by a car backing out of a driveway. He was rushed by ambulance to the hospital with serious head injuries and flown by Life Flight to Primary Children's Medical Center, where he spent eight days in intensive care and several more weeks in the hospital.

"I would never wish that on my worst enemies," Forbes says of the moment she knew her child had been severely injured. "It's been a horrible time for us."

Through it all, however, Teancum surprised everyone by progressing well and beating back the odds, his mom said.

"It could have been so much worse. He's only a few months behind in walking and running," she said. "We have seen many miracles in this."

The name Teancum comes from the book of Alma in the Book of Mormon, she said, adding the scriptural leader was "Captain Moroni's best friend and a real fighter."

Forbes, who has coached the cheerleaders at Dixie State College for four years, and her husband, Ryan, had health insurance, but the bills are still huge. To help cover those bills, the cheerleaders and members of other service organizations on campus held a car-wash fund-raiser recently as part of fall semester's Campus to Community service project.

Students provided free car washes, with all tips and other monetary donations going directly to the toddler's medical fund. Pledges from local businesses and residents were also collected for the fund.

More than two dozen students washed and scrubbed nearly 450 vehicles at four separate car wash locations around the county to raise more than $3,000 for Teancum's medical fund.

"We are still gathering donations. More money is coming in," said Donna Stafford, DSC director of student activities. "We received a $100 check just today. It's so nice to see these great young people working together for such a wonderful cause."

Teancum is recovering at home from several skull fractures he suffered in the accident.

"When it first happened, the doctors told us everything, from he might not live to he could be a vegetable," said Forbes. "To watch him heal up so well and in just a matter of weeks is just amazing."

Teancum lost his hearing in his right ear, though, and it will take time to know whether the nerve damage to the right side of his face will repair itself. Right now, the toddler can see out of his right eye, but he can't smile or blink on that side, his mother said.

"It really has been amazing and so wonderful to know there are so many loving, concerned and giving people out there," she said. "It sure makes it easier to go through this when we have that strength behind us."

DSC's Campus to Community event consists of one large-scale community service project each semester. Last semester, students collected more than 3,200 cans of nonperishable goods as part of its "CANSTOCK '06" to benefit Dixie Care & Share.

Other projects have included a yard sale to benefit a near-drowning victim, planting trees for the new Southern Utah Water Conservation Garden in St. George, a book drive to benefit literacy in local schools, and harvesting willow stems as part of St. George city's effort to help revegetate area riverbeds in the wake of the 2005 floods that destroyed nearly $200 million in public and private property.

"Campus to Community is always an exciting event for students here at Dixie State College," said the college's student body president, Jennifer Shakespeare. "It's a chance for us to give back and show our thanks to this amazing community that has added a great deal to our Dixie College experience."

Fund established

A medical fund has been established in the name of Teancum Forbes at America First Credit Union, according to Randy Wilstead of the Dixie State College Athletic Department. Forbes, the toddler son of Dixie's cheerleader squad coach, survived multiple injuries earlier this year after being run over by a vehicle backing out of a driveway. Donations will help pay for the boy's physical therapy and other needs. For more information call Wilstead at 435-652-7524.

E-mail: [email protected]