CEBUANO TEEN IN COMA
Son’s mauling in California parking lot reminds mom of violence in past life in Cebu City
OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA – “Son, when you wake up, I’ll be here at your side. I’ll never leave you..I love you no matter what.”’
On her Facebook page, the words of Cebuana Maria Gueca Rasner express the agony and hope of a mother who has rarely left her son’s bedside in the hospital.
Since Monday, 17-year-old Fil-Am Christian Rasner has been in a medically induced coma to protect him from further brain trauma after he was beaten up in a parking lot outside a mall in Sta. Fe, California. Authorities suspect the violence was a random attack by a youth gang.
Both mother and son were born in Cebu City, and moved to the United States several years ago.
Last March 18, two Asian-loooking males in their mid-twenties attacked Christian who was walking with friends in the early evening of Wednesday, March 18, at Westfield Fair Mall.
“He is still in induced coma, not yet awake. He was given medicine to paralyze him in the meantime because he cannot still afford to wake up and move because the doctors fear that his brain might swell again,” Maria said.
“It may take the doctors another week to observe how his body system would react given the injuries he sustained. Another week for the doctors to observe whether he can afford to wake once the effects of the drug wore out,” she added.
“One thing working for Christian though is that he is still young.””
Witnesses at the mall said the males who approached Christian and his friends asked if they were members of a gang.
After Christian said no, the two males punched him in the face. Christian fell on his back. His head hit the pavement hard. The assailants ran outside of the mall.
Christian was able to walk to a bench with his friends and wait for the police to arrive after someone called 911.
There was speculation that the attackers may be undergoing gang initiation which involved violently attacking someone.
Those close to Christian said he has many friends but was not a member of a gang and was never involved in heated arguments or trash talk.
His mother said Christian started working part time in October last year in a mall to support his needs while studying.
Christian is the eldest child of three children and was brought to the US when he was six years old. His mother married Greg Rasner, who adopted Christian when the couple got married.
Christian’s real father, who came from an influential well-to-do family that owns several properties in Cebu City, died young at 24 years old. He was shot dead in the same city.
“It was very painful for me when that happened to my first husband and then this happened to Christian now. I was a witness to the violence my husband went through and now… I never imagined that my son would also fall victim to violence,” Maria said.
“Kaya ko siya dinala sa America nang bata pa siya… akala ko ligtas siya dito. Hindi ko akalaing magiging karahasan din ang kahahantungan niya gaya ng sa tatay niya.”
(I brought Christian here in America while he was still young thinking he would be safe here. I never thought he would also be involved in violence like his father.)
Still fresh in her mind, Maria remembers she got home late afternoon to find Christian singing and dancing as he usually does in the kitchen. After partaking of the pancit she brought, Christian gave her a kiss and a hug, asking permission to go to the Westfield Valley Fair Mall in San Jose.
Call from police
At around 8 p.m., the police called to tell the family that Christian was in an ambulance ready to be brought to the hospital after someone punched him.
She thought all along that her son got into a petty fight in the mall with other teen boys, and for this Christian would get a scolding and probably be grounded.
“When we saw him at the emergency room he was still able to say clearly, “Mama I love you,” to which I replied, “I love you son. Don’t worry your dad and I are here for you,” she said.
That was the last she heard from him and his eyeball started rolling repeatedly. He complained of extreme head pain.
After a CT scan was done doctors found out the back of his skull near the neck broke and that there was bleeding in the brain. He underwent emergency brain surgery.
“We are just patiently waiting for him to wake up to be well. We are focused on Christian especially now that he needs us… My son is fighting for his life,” she said.
Maria said it was difficult because she got laid off from her job a few days earlier.
The Rasner couple thanked strangers, loved ones, friends, co-workers, and everyone who shared prayers and material help through the gofundme.com fundraising campaign started by a neighbor and friend.
“It just amazes us and uplifts us. I really love reading the comments left in our Facebook accounts and twitting to #Christianrasner. The words of sympathy and encouragement help us cope with this tragedy. Thanks to all the donors, both known or not,” Maria, joined by Greg, said.
Doctors still have to determine the extent of injury to the brain as soon as Christian awakes.
But physical and mental therapy after he is stable enough would form part of the rehabilitation process.
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