Overcoming odds and inspiring others: man injured in crash celebrates 21st birthday

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – A man who suffered a major brain and neck injury in a car crash nearly two years ago got to celebrate his 21st birthday on Sunday surrounded by family and friends.

Nick Van Doeselaar was injured badly in September 2015 after he lost control of his vehicle, crossed 4 lanes of traffic and rolled his vehicle several times on I-96 near Alpine in Kent County. It was later determined he hadn't been speeding or drinking.

“Every step of the way he has done everything they said he would never do,” says Shannon Meyer, Nick’s mother. “He’s getting back to his normal Nick self. He actually walked a couple weeks ago. He’s been standing. He’s very cognitive and knows what you’re saying.”

Nick and his family has been on a long road of recovery and are grateful for the great progress being made.

The birthday bash was filled with games and music and raffles to help raise money for Nick and his family so he can lead a more normal life.

“He has rehab every single day he is doing stuff every day, says Meyer. “He is starting to make noise. He asked for Mom a couple weeks ago.”

Nick will be going to the University of Michigan at the end of the month to undergo a procedure to put a titanium plate back in his head.

His mother is hoping to raise awareness about severe brain injuries with Nick's story and posts updates on his progress on the Team Nick Facebook page.

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