Modesto Man Suffers Neck Injury in Guatemala, Must Pay Hospital Bill Before He Can Return Home

SACRAMENTO -- A Sacramento woman is desperately seeking help for her brother after she says an accident left him recovering in a Central American hospital.

28-year-old Alex Austin from Modesto was on a trip to Guatemala with friends when he suffered a neck injury, forcing him to undergo surgery.

Now, the family is working to get him home.

Alex’s sister, Roxanne Austin, is pleading for help.

Roxanne says her brother loves to travel and while swimming with friends he was severely injured.

She says he's facing a long road to recovery while trying to come up with more than $20,000 to pay a hefty hospital bill.

A video shows Alex doing what he loves the most, traveling.

“He is an amazingly genuine person, always looking at the bright side of things,” Roxanne said about her brother.

While traveling to Guatemala for the New Year with friends, a moment of joy in the water took a tragic turn when friends say Alex dove into the ocean.

“I think he just didn’t realize how shallow the water was,” Roxanne said.

The freak accident left Alex, who is a teacher, with two broken vertebrae in his neck, pinching his spinal cord.

“It just hit me like a ton of bricks. Literally, I was looking through Instagram and I saw my other brother post about the GoFundMe,” said Roxanne.

Friends relentlessly helped during the five-hour trek from the accident site to get Alex to a hospital in Guatemala City.

But Roxanne says the hospital won’t release her brother until a bill, she says totals more than $20,000, is paid in full.

“Since the insurance can’t really do a lot right now, we are paying everything out of pocket,” Roxanne stated.

The GoFundMe account was set up to help pay for those expenses. If you’d like to help Alex, please click the link.

While Roxanne says her brother is recovering from surgery, she’s hoping to get him home safely to be with his family in California.

“His friend that’s there now in the hospital says he was cracking jokes, the first thing he said out of surgery, before falling asleep,” Roxanne expressed. “My brother is such a survivor and he’s so strong.”

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