Local, global community rallies around injured Chatfield teen

Marick Mercer, 15 of Chatfield with his siblings and mother
Marick Mercer, 15 of Chatfield with his siblings and mother(Shelly Mercer)
Published: May. 3, 2022 at 5:08 AM CDT
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CHATFIELD, Minn. (KTTC) – Chatfield teen Marick Mercer’s life changed instantly after he was in an ATV accident at his home last December.

The fourteen-year-old suffered a severe head injury and required helicopter transportation to Mayo Clinic St. Marys. His parents, Shelly and Keith Mercer found him after they came back from a coffee shop. They didn’t even know if he was going to survive.

“We came back home, and we were trying to figure out where he went,” Keith said. “Then we found him and realized he had been in a little scrape. That’s something a parent should never have to see,” Keith said. “Our last words with him that day were, “hey mom and dad, you wanna bring me home a latte?”

Shelly is a emergency room trauma nurse. She said an experience like this is different when it’s your own child. She never left the hospital room.

“What they think happened is that his head got caught in the wheel,” Shelly said. “He was in a coma, then he was in an induced coma, so that his brain could rest. They removed a portion of his skull. we got multiple different prognoses to he will be awake in three days, to we need to think about things, what Marick would want. You know what, it was in God’s hands.”

After about five months in the hospital, Marick returned home a few weeks ago. He requires 24/7 supervision and care. He is unable to speak, eat on his own, care for his hygiene or hold his head up.

Shelly and Keith said they are overwhelmed and amazed by how the community has rallied around them.

“People are coming out of the walls, people we don’t even know saying, what can I do? How can I help,” Keith said. “I made a comment to my friend, you know what, there is no Earthly way I could ever repay anybody for all of this, he said, “nobody is asking you to, we do this because we want to.”

Marick’s friends created a Facebook group called “Marick’s Squad. It’s gained more than 2,000 members. Many are from around the world.

“Marick’s Squad,” with all the prayers coming in, that’s one large Christian community,” Keith said. “There’s people from New Zealand, Austria, Germany, England, he’s worldwide.”

Shelly and Keith said they regularly get messages from people saying they are praying and are also having their own communities pray for Marick.

“There are moments when we just can’t. We are either so angry, or so exhausted, that it’s the other people who are holding us up,” Shelly tearfully said. “That’s the wonderful thing about it.”

Both said they think about the “what ifs” and what they could’ve done differently to prevent the accident, but they said the efforts are futile, and that’s when they turn to their faith.

“God gave us the will to have faith in whatever happens,” Shelly said. “It wasn’t His will that any of this happens, and it’s not that He doesn’t want Marick to get better. It’s how we choose our faith to get through this. It doesn’t mean we won’t get upset and cry. It means in the end, it is what it is, and we gotta just move on.”

Shelly said something she wants people learn from their experience is to normalize wearing helmets and think about making better choices in life as a whole.

“Marick made a choice that day,” she said. “He wasn’t supposed to be doing wheelies. He wasn’t wearing a helmet. It isn’t our place to judge, though. We all make choices.”

Moving forward, the parents said they are looking at ways of making their house more accessible for Marick, including expanding parts of it to make easier for his wheelchair, and installing a wheelchair lift. They also want to make it easier to move outside of their home, which is on acres of farmland.

He just got a Husky puppy named “Squad” this week, which they will train to be a support animal. With Squad on his lap, Marick started petting him, something Shelly said he had not done before.

“I knew this dog would be something that would encourage him beyond what we could do,” she said. “It’s a mother’s dream.”

They said they hope his friends continue to visit, as it’s important for people with brain injuries to continue to have connections. They have in-home nursing care soon. In the meantime, they will rely on volunteers.

There is an upcoming fundraiser for Marick at the Rochester American Legion on May 18 from 5 p.m.-9 p.m. There will be a silent auction and all proceeds will go to help with Marick’s care and recovery.

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