ATLANTA - This Thanksgiving, one Metro Atlanta family has a lot to be thankful for. Because of the generosity of strangers, a 21-year-old college athlete is recovering from a stroke.
Just by looking at 21-year-old Keltin Devoe, most people would have no idea what he's been through. On April 6, the baseball player had a stroke.
"My head started hurting really, really bad," Devoe said. "I called my mom as fast as I could. Thank God, I got the call off."
"He was struggling to find his words. I knew something was terribly wrong," said Keltin's mother, Kelly Hall.
Medics rushed him to the hospital where they found Keltin had a hemorrhagic stroke. A blood vessel burst in his brain, caused by a condition at birth he never knew about.
"By the time I got to the hospital I was completely out. I didn't know what was going on. I didn't know where I was. I was saying the word 'ten.' I couldn't say anything but 10," Devoe said.
"Every day we were in the Neuro ICU they were saying they didn't know if he was going to make it," Hall added.
His family covered him in scripture and prayer for healing. Keltin's brain was so swollen at one point, he blew out a pupil and doctors had to remove half of his skull. After 19 days in Emory Hospital's neuro-intensive care unit and three surgeries, his road to recovery began.
Keltin made a video to help him remember all that he has been through.
"Where I am right now, I'm just completely grateful. Totally grateful," he said.
His improvement has come, in part, because of specialized rehabilitation that is pushing him further, faster. It's not covered by insurance and something his family could afford. But it's being totally paid for by people he doesn't know. A nonprofit called Andee’s Army is footing the bill, paying it forward, to help Keltin and others like him.
Beyond Therapy at Atlanta's Shepherd Center already has made a huge different. So this holiday, even though Keltin still has a long way to go, he has a lot to be thankful for.
"That's what I would like to tell everybody here. They'll make it. They'll make it through," Devoe stressed.
One day, he hopes to be able to drive again, and dreams of getting back on the baseball field.
"I mean, it's the love of my life. I've always loved to play baseball, but if I don't make it back, it's not the end of the world," he said.
Because he knows, there are more important things. He's alive, he's doing well and even though he doesn't know what's next for him, he's embracing the journey.
"You just keep the faith and you know that's there something out there for me."