GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) –- Somehow, despite all that he’s been through over the past few months, Kevin Breen still manages to laugh and smile — and often.
“It is a tragedy. But we’ve remained positive,” Breen told 24 Hour News 8 Friday.
24 Hour News 8 first shared Breen’s story on Tuesday: a rare case of strep throat nearly killed him. While he survived, doctors will now be forced to amputate both of his hands and feet.
Breen had his first operation Wednesday. His second operation is slated for March 22, according to a GoFundMe page set up in his name.
“God could’ve taken him. And he didn’t,” Kevin’s wife, Julie Breen, told 24 Hour News 8. “We were to that point. And he’s here for a reason.”>>RELATED: Strep throat leads to quadruple amputation for Kent Co. man
It’s that positive attitude in the face of adversary that’s perhaps one of the biggest reasons why Breen’s story has reached people worldwide. In the days since 24 Hour News 8 first aired it, the family says they’ve gotten calls, messages and emails from all over.
“We’ve gotten some messages from people on the other side of the pond,” Kevin Breen said. “And it’s just wild to see how somehow they connected with us.”
“The messages that people write, and just reading them, I get teared up sometimes,” Julie Breen added. “There’s no words to describe how much that means.”
Help has also come in the way of financial support, as the Breens are facing mounting medical bills and unknown future costs.
A local physical therapist set up the GoFundMe page in February to help the family. A week ago, the goal was set for $20,000. The account has now surpassed $89,000.
“Our friends, our family. Complete strangers. It’s just amazing,” Julie Breen said.
“Very humbling. Absolutely,” Kevin Breen added.
Kevin Breen credits his wife, his three children, and his faith in God for giving him motivation to face the challenges ahead. In the short term, he faces several surgeries but he’s already looking ahead. The avid water-skier has long-term goal to hit the lake again.
“I would like to say I will go skiing again. Barring something pretty major, I will figure it out and will go skiing again, absolutely,” he said.