Community rallies around Burlington senior paralyzed in accident on class trip

BURLINGTON, N.C. -- A student from The Burlington School was paralyzed in September during his senior class trip.

Andrew Hartle, the senior class president, went to Puerto Rico with his classmates to celebrate their senior year.

Unfortunately, Andrew’s trip took a turn for the worse.

"He's a swimmer. He loved to be in the water,” said Andrew’s dad, Jeremy. “They were at the beach. He ran and jumped into the ocean and apparently hit his head on a rock."

Jeremy and his wife, Amy, rushed to Puerto Rico to be by his side. Two hospitals and 12 surgeries later, Andrew is alive.

The incident left him paralyzed from the chest down.

“It’s a roller coaster,” Amy said. "One day they think we’re getting closer to a rehabilitation center and then we take a step back.”

"We're all devastated,” said Jennifer Pickett, a family friend. But they are not giving up on Andrew.

"Our family, our friends, our community has come together and wrapped their arms around us and shown so much love and support,” Amy said.

Through prayer hashtags and T-shirts, there’s an outpouring of love for him.

"There's a lot of people that love this child and love this family,” Pickett said. “And a lot of people that don't even know them that are still showing their love. This is an incredibly tough time for anyone who knows him.

A GoFundMe page has been set up to help Andrew and his family.