The Jacob Armacost Foundation will have a Vera Bradley raffle in February, and tickets are on sale now.

One ticket offers 24 chances to win a Vera Bradley bag during the month, with a ticket drawn each day in February except Sundays.

Money raised by this raffle will go toward the care of Jacob Armacost, providing money for therapy and equipment not covered by insurance.

In June 1997 Jacob suffered a near-drowning accident at the age of 16 months, leaving him severely brain damaged. "He has lost the ability to walk, talk and eat. We are not sure how much he sees," his mom, Donna Armacost, wrote in an email. She is a nurse at Sandymount Elementary School.

"He had a Baclofen pump surgically inserted in his abdomen which pumped medicine into his spinal nerves to help deaden the messages from his brain," Armacost wrote.

After the doctors had given up on any further treatment, Armacost began researching alternative therapies. "I found Hyperbaric Oxygen," she wrote.

"We started treatments and Jake became much more calm and alert, and began swallowing. I was able to take him off most of his medications and we started reducing the medication in his internal pump. We were able to remove the pump in February 2007.

"I also found a sensory stimulation program out of England called Brain-Net," Armacost wrote. "It consists of an exercise routine that we do with Jake every day. He smiles a lot now and laughs out loud. He enjoys riddles and rhymes and being read to. He vocalizes more and seems to be speaking to us in his own language. His vision continues to improve."

Armacost said her son has received other therapies, including acupuncture.

"We visited the Amen Clinic in Reston, Va., where we were told there is a lot of Jake's brain that works really well," Armacost wrote. "We are trying some supplements to aid in the production of new neural cells."

Many of the treatments the Armacost family has opted to use are not covered by insurance. Purchasing tickets for this raffle helps them raise funds to continue treatments.

Tickets cost $5 each or three for $10. To purchase tickets call Leona at 410-848-5486 or Donna at 410-967-7748.

"He has come a long way for a boy who 'probably would not make it through the night and if he did would be a vegetable.' Jake has shown us how fragile life is and how we need to value it," Armacost wrote. "Deep in my heart I know he will get his life back. He is a fighter."

Celebrating Carroll

Join in a celebration of Carroll County's 176th birthday from 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday in Holy Cross Hall at Church of the Ascension, 23 N. Court St., Westminster.

Enjoy refreshments at this free educational event sponsored by the Historical Society of Carroll County.

Speaker Helen MacSherry, a Shriver family descendent, will share some of the feelings and thoughts expressed in the Shriver Civil War diaries. She'll show how a family with a division of loyalties dealt with one of our nation's most tragic wars.

Call the historical society at 410-848-6494 or visit http://hscc.carr.org for additional information.

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