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Eugene Chen

New Baby Gives New Hope

On June 12, 2011, Eugene Chen was a 25-year-old Ph.D. student at the University of Iowa, studying Business and Management Science when his life changed forever. He was taking a break from his studies and on his way to a picnic when his Ford Escort was t-boned by a Ford F-150. Eugene was unresponsive at the scene of the accident, with a traumatic brain injury and severe fractures. He was taken by helicopter to the University of Iowa Hospital, where he remained in a coma for 12 days. After a one-month stay, Eugene's doctors recommended On With Life's Post-Acute Inpatient Rehabilitation program.

"I came to On With Life because it's one of the best in the nation at rehabilitation," said Eugene. "I'm so glad I did. They treated me very, very well."

Eugene needed four months of intensive therapy and nursing care, much of it on a one-on-one basis. His mother, Lingling, came from China to help her son. On With Life staff volunteered to help furnish a nearby apartment to allow Lingling to stay comfortably, and volunteers transported her from her apartment to On With Life twice a day.

"They didn't just care for me at On With Life, they cared for my mom too," said Eugene. "My mom couldn't speak English, but we could feel the warmth from On With Life. They were so kind to her. In such a difficult time, they gave her hope again." Eugene's dad was also able to travel from China for his graduation celebration.

Eugene was excited to visit On With Life in March and introduce his wife, Yuan Wang. In July, the couple welcomed a beautiful baby girl, Evangeline. The name Evangeline was chosen because it sounds like "angel" and means "bringer of good news."

"I love being a dad," said Eugene.

In addition to being a new dad, Eugene is working on contract as a Technical Market Analysis Lead at Virtual Systems Engineering.

"Overall, I am doing very well," said Eugene. "I am so proud of myself and my family - my mom, my dad, my wife and my new baby girl - for getting through this, and I'm so thankful for all that On With Life did for me."