May 23, 2023 at 8:03 p.m.

Happy to be alive

Happy to be alive
Happy to be alive

By Carol [email protected] | Comments: 0 | Leave a comment

Adam’s sunny outlook on life celebrated 20 years after life-changing accident

“Happy to be alive,” Adam Elliott told more than one person May 14 gathered on his mother, Marit’s, Melrose front lawn, many eating ice cream served by his sisters Karn Moening and Katie Elliott. 

 It was Adam’s Happy to be Alive party, and his favorite food, ice cream, was on the menu. He and his mom each wore purple T-shirts with Happy to be Alive printed on the front, a gift from Marit’s nephew.  

Twenty years ago to the day, May 14, 2003, Adam was injured during a car accident northeast of Melrose, which left him wheelchair bound with a traumatic brain injury and other medical issues. 

“You are my sunshine every morning,” Denise Rieland said, holding Adam’s face in her hand, while her other hand grasped his hand.  

“You are my Sunshine,” is Adam’s favorite song. In fact, it was written on a cake made by family friend Julie Schaefer-O’Brien. 

Family and friends filled the front lawn on this milestone day, a fun way for Marit to celebrate Mother’s Day, watching people conversing with her son. A picture quilt made by the moms of several of Adam’s friends, after the accident, hung on a railing. Smiling, Marit said it was too nice to use. Some of his classmates attended the party, one of many heartwarming moments. Most members of the Melrose ambulance crew and the Freeport Rescue crew, who cared for Adam at the accident scene that day, were a pleasant and emotion-filled surprise for Marit, and they were happy to see Adam interacting.

 “Amazing,” Marit said May 17. “That was really touching.” 

Adam’s recovery was amazing. A scrapbook showcased his year and a half recovery that took him from the hospital to a care facility, where he recovered from September 2003 to April 2005, before returning home to Melrose. It included photos of a Hula Bowl party held when Adam’s brother, Blake, played in the Hula Bowl in Hawaii. Adam’s dad David and sisters attended the game, while Marit hosted a watch party at home for family, friends and Adam, who was still in the care facility but was able to go home for the day. 

When Adam was at the care facility, David spent weekdays with him, sleeping on a futon in Adam’s room, and Marit was there on weekends. Adam returned home in 2005 and received home care and personal care assistant services and still does, with Marit and Raheim Lewis his main caregivers. He works at WACOSA in Sauk Centre. Marit displayed a heart shaped gift with real flowers Adam made for her at the art lab in Sauk Centre. 

Ink pens with the words “Adam Forever Changed May 14, 2023. Happy to be Alive” were given out to guests. Some brought special gifts for Adam. Joyce Rademacher, his daycare provider in his younger years, gifted Adam with her homemade spam salad, which was his favorite. 

It was a sunny day to celebrate the happy life of this 36-year-old man who loves music.  

“It’s nice of you to have a party, and ice cream to top it off,” Bob Doyle said to Adam. “Thanks, and we’re happy you’re alive.” 

“That’s the theme of the day,” Marit said.  “Twenty years ago, we were not sure this happy to be alive would work.” 

It works, thanks to Adam’s happy outlook on life. 


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