On a hot July day, Michelle Marks reflected on the anniversary of her youngest son’s accident – July 28, 2011 – that day, Marcus, who was 6 months old at the time, was airlifted to Ministry Saint Joseph’s Hospital in Marshfield.
She watches her spirited toddler run up and down the driveway between his older siblings, Meaghan and Michael, at their house in Wild Rose, Wisconsin. Marcus hears a small plane fly overhead. He points up at the sky, pacifier in his mouth, pausing only for a few seconds before running in the direction of the plane. “Isn’t that something?” Michelle says grinning at the curious boy.
A year ago last summer, the mother-of-five was preparing for a camping trip on the Wisconsin / Michigan border. Leaving before sunrise on a Thursday morning, Michelle and her children followed another family north and made a pit stop at a local store in Rhinelander. After shopping, Michelle returned to her SUV with the kids. While waiting for the others, Michelle was holding Marcus outside the vehicle when Meaghan called out for her. She placed Marcus on the passenger-side seat and asked Malachi, her oldest son, to keep an eye on the baby while she ran around the truck to help Meaghan. Malachi turned to help his youngest brother and before Michelle knew it, Marcus – having just learned to crawl earlier that week – had fallen out of the vehicle. Within seconds, Michelle jumped over the hitch and was at the baby’s side.“I suspect he had tried to flip over and in that split second ... he was on the ground,” she remembers. “I scooped him up and he had two little bumps on his head. He was crying and upset.”
After calming him down, they decided he was okay. Back on the road, he drank a whole bottle and fell asleep in his car seat. When they arrived at the campsite about a half-hour north of Eagle River, Michelle noticed something wasn’t right. Marcus’ eyes wouldn’t focus and he started to vomit. Right then, Michelle put the baby back in the car seat and they got back on the road.