Before I walked into Grant Virgin’s hospital room for the first time, the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles media director called me.
Grant is not in your typical hospital room, he told me, warning me about the Posey bed — a tent-like cover that can be zipped up and clipped closed for his own security and for those around him.
I had reported on Grant’s injuries since Sept. 10, the night he was struck by a car in a hit and run in Palm Desert.
The 16-year-old’s bones were broken from head to toe, his aorta was crushed and his brain was rocked inside his head. He should have died.
I thought I was prepared to see him.
But actually walking into Grant’s hospital room — seeing the scar on his head, watching his labored movements and sensing his exhaustion – was a different experience.
It sunk in how much this young man’s life was derailed by only a second or two one warm fall evening. It made my heart hurt for him.
His parents, John and JJ Virgin, agreed to let a reporter, photographer and videographer share their family’s story.
They opened the door for the community to see the heartbreak of Grant’s crash, their unwavering belief in integrative medicine and their differing opinions on the hit-and-run driver who altered the course of all their lives.
Most of all, they told me, they’re grateful to a community that has supported Grant’s journey. That’s what has kept their faith in the goodness of people.
But this is only the beginning of a different life for Grant, his parents and his younger brother, Bryce.
And it is only the start of our questions for lawmakers, police and state leaders about how we can create a better system that will help find justice for Grant and thousands of other hit-and-run victims.
How to help:
Palm Desert police asked anyone with information about Grant’s crash to call (760) 836-1600. Coachella Valley Crime Stoppers collects anonymous tips at (760) 341-7867.
The Virgin family is also accepting donations to help cover Grant’s medical expenses via Paypal (firstname.lastname@example.org).