austin delaney

Just two days before Christmas, 22-year-old Austin Delaney, of Grant Park, collapsed and went into cardiac arrest.

“He said that he didn’t feel good, and then, he collapsed,” said Cindy Dupuis, of Momence, Austin’s grandmother.

Austin, a 2015 graduate of Grant Park High School, lived a healthy lifestyle before this happened. He worked out often and worked in quality control at Thornton Stone Quarry in Thornton, Ill.

After falling ill, he was taken to the ICU at Riverside Medical Center in Kankakee where he spent 10 days intubated and in a medically-induced coma. After running tests, doctors couldn’t find what caused the cardiac arrest.

After having a tracheostomy, Austin was transferred to RML Specialty Hospital in Hinsdale on Jan. 3.

After a few days there, he was finally able to be taken off life support. He was then transferred to Shirley Ryan AbilityLab in Chicago, where he was finally able to breathe on his own again after 45 days of having a tracheostomy tube to assist his breathing.

Because he collapsed during his cardiac arrest, Austin suffered brain damage because of lack of oxygen to the brain. After running tests at Riverside, doctors could only come up with heart arrhythmia (irregular beating of the heart), as the cause for Austin’s sudden arrest.

After coming home earlier this week, Austin faces a long road to recovery.

“Austin has one brother, one sister and two dogs. We think that having him around family with familiar surroundings will help him to make a better recovery,” Dupuis said.

Austin will have a hospital bed at home, and he’ll be transported to the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab DayRehab Center in Homewood, Monday through Friday, for three hours each day.

His family will be holding a benefit to help pay for Austin’s medical bills, on April 5 at the Majestic Theatre, 150 N. Schuyler Ave., Kankakee, from 5 to 11 p.m.

The benefit will include a silent auction, basket raffles, food and split the pot. Entertainment will be provided by Matt Yeager and the South Side Social Club.

Advance tickets cost $10, tickets at the door will be $15 and ages 3 and younger get in for free.

For tickets, or details on how to make a donation for Austin, search on Facebook “High Hopes: Austin Strong,” email, or call/text Lori Zimmerman at 815-922-9223 or Kaitlyn Wolford at 815-905-6717.

“He’s already making great strides,” Dupuis said. “We’re trusting that God will heal him.”

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