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Carroll community coming together to raise funds for Upperco man with severe brain damage

Jacob Armacost suffered severe brain damage in 1997 at 16 months old after he fell into his family’s pool.
Jacob Armacost suffered severe brain damage in 1997 at 16 months old after he fell into his family’s pool. (Courtesy photo)

In 1997, 16-month-old Jacob Armacost fell into his family’s pool and suffered severe brain damage. Since then, Armacost hasn’t been able to speak, walk or eat. To afford different treatments and therapies that aren’t covered by his insurance, his family holds an annual fundraiser.

The Armacost family, based out of Upperco, has been finding various methods that work best for Jacob.

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“We do a lot of different therapies,” said Donna, Jacob’s mom. “He has a massage therapist that does something called raindrop therapy, mostly, he’s very spastic and it just relaxes his muscles. He enjoys that and then we do acupuncture.”

Every other year since 2005, the Armacost family holds a Pig Roast and Silent Auction at the Upperco Volunteer Fire Company’s Social Hall on Carnival Avenue.

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Over time, Jacob’s health has steadily improved in a few ways.

“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,” said Donna, via email. “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.”

Jacob, now 23, can’t speak and others are not sure how much he sees, but, according to Donna, he can make sounds to show when he’s happy and when he’s not.

Along with the help and support he receives from Donna, he also has his father, Douglas, and four sisters.

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“We have to take care of all of his daily activities of daily living,” said Donna.

Aside from support from family, the Armacosts get help from the whole community coming together to support Jacob with funds for the various therapies that keep him going.

According to Donna, in previous years they’ve raised more than $15,000 and an average of about 300 people in attendance. They don’t have a monetary goal set for the fundraiser, they just hope people donate to help Jacob.

This year’s roast and auction will be held on Nov. 23 from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Tickets are $15 in advance, which can be purchased by calling Donna at 410-967-7748 or Della Dell at 410-984-7805 and $20 at the door.

“This has been a long road and sometimes lonely, but Jake is our miracle,” said Donna via email. “To see how he touches lives is a priceless gift. Without speaking, he can cross barriers and melt hearts.”

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