BOSTON (CBS) – Boston's Seaport neighbors and businesses came together on Sunday to rally behind 18-year-old Jake Thibeault, the Milton Academy hockey star who recently suffered a severe injury on the ice.
"The sad truth and reality is right now he's not going to walk," said Drew Thibeault, Jake's brother. "In my opinion he's going to force his legs to move again."
Jake is one of the top hockey prospects in New England. He plays for Milton Academy and two private clubs. During a hockey tournament earlier this month, he went hard into the board and suffered a spinal cord injury that has left virtually paralyzed from the waist down.
Money raised Sunday at a fundraiser held at The Lawn on D in South Boston will go to help the Thibeault family pay for medical bills.
"We are not a charity but we are just fellow neighbors that have a heart to help people when they need something," said Katie McCabe of Seaport Strong, which organized the fundraiser.
The hockey community has rallied behind Jake. Last week members of the Boston Bruins visited Jake in the hospital including Matt Grzelcyk, who gave him a signed autograph hockey stick.
"I was taken back by how strong he was, how strong his family was. The attitude that he's shown already is very impressive," Grzelcyk said.
Paul Canaza, Jake's hockey coach, said he's among the best he's ever coached.
"Blue collar kid, unbelievable work ethic, energy level, positivity, appreciate, humble. That's what's got him where it got him," said Canaza.
A week out of surgery, Jake is now rehabbing at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in Charlestown. He knows he has a long road ahead, but his brother says its support like this that will give him the strength to make it through.
"The support has been literally his lifeline. Without it I don't know where any of us would be," Drew said.
A GoFundMe page has been set up to help Jake's family with medical and home construction costs. So far, over $400,000 has been raised.
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