Bridger Hunt</I>

Bridger Hunt's 12th birthday is less than a month away, and his mother already had the perfect gift in the works.

"He's really into skateboarding," Mindy Shaw said. "I've been buying wood to make him a half-pipe. We were going to put it in the driveway."

Today, Bridger rests in a hospital bed in Primary Children's Medical Center, and his mother is praying he'll be able to celebrate his 12th birthday.

The Orem boy continues to fight for his life after shrapnel from the explosion of a homemade firework tore through his torso and left leg as he was riding his bike through his grandfather's Lehi neighborhood Thursday evening.

It's likely that Bridger will lose his left leg, though that's not the family's greatest concern.

"(The doctors) are working to keep him alive," Shaw told the Deseret News on Saturday night. "It's still a critical situation."

Doctors have been keeping Bridger sedated to limit his movement and keep him calm, his mother said. The boy has started to become aware of his surroundings, but he has no knowledge of the accident or his condition, she said.

A visit Saturday from Shaw's twin younger brothers, Connor and McKay Stevens, who are roughly the same age as Bridger, prompted his most noticeable response thus far.

"He started to cry when he realized they were there," Shaw said. "He actually opened his eyes, and he cried. He moved his arms and he pointed at his leg. He knows something's wrong with his leg."

Shaw sees the tearful moment between Bridger and his young uncles as a significant step toward his recovery and a sign that prayers of family, friends and strangers are working.

"His body has gone from feeling cold like he was dead to being warm again," she said. "I hope people will continue to pray for him and keep him in their thoughts."

Dyanne Richan-Casper, Shaw's mother, said the family appreciates all of the love and well-wishes they have received since Bridger was critically injured.

She's alarmed, however, at the harsh public comments posted on local media Web sites about the 46-year-old man whose homemade fireworks device exploded and caused the boy's injuries.

"People light illegal fireworks all the time," Richan-Casper said. "This was an accident."

Shaw said the family does not feel any animosity toward the man.

"He's been incredibly remorseful," she said. "We hold no grudge toward him, and we don't want other people to, either."

Shaw said the man has offered to assist with Bridger's hospital bills, which the family estimates will exceed $1 million. The family does not have any insurance to help offset the costs, she said.

Funds have been set up at all Zions Bank and Central Bank locations where people can donate to help with Bridger's medical bills.


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