By Lois E. Johnson
Moose Lake Star-Gazette 

Family works to bring Mackenzie home

Benefit held to help defray costs of medical expenses, home renovations


October 26, 2017

courtesy Kimberly Parmeter

A traumatic car accident has left Mackenzie Jarve paralyzed.

Mackenzie Jarve of Kettle River and her boyfriend were returning from an event in Barnum on Monday, August 7, on County Road 6 when their vehicle slammed into the back of a stalled truck in their driving lane. That accident changed Mackenzie's life forever.

"The accident resulted in a life-altering severe neck and spinal cord injury," wrote Kim Parmeter, a friend of the family. "After a seven-hour surgery to remove and replace her C-6 vertebrae, decompress and straighten her spinal cord and install a plate, screws and rods to support her new vertebrae, Mackenzie has been diagnosed as quadriplegic. After a stay at St. Mary's Intensive Care Unit, she was transferred to Miller Dwan for five weeks of intense rehabilitation, speech and physical therapy, and then to the Courage Rehabilitation Center in Golden Valley for six weeks."

"I got the call at 10 that night," said her dad, Dave Simcox, in an interview at a benefit held in Mackenzie's honor on Saturday, October 21, in Wrenshall. "There were no flashers on the truck. They hit it on her side. She was hurt pretty bad."

Simcox explained that Mackenzie was 17 when the accident happened, and looking forward to her senior year at school.

"She takes classes online through the Connections Academy," he said. "She's been doing really well. Now we are just going semester by semester. Connections has a special mouse that she can operate by speech recognition. They are finding adaptive tools for her to use."

Mackenzie loves music, said Simcox.

"She was taking piano lessons," he said. "And we got into classic cars. I bought a 1951 Chevy pickup that we were going to restore. We got pretty crazy with classic cars!"

Simcox has empathy for Mackenzie's boyfriend. He explained he is shy and probably would not want his last name revealed.

"He is really having trouble with feelings of guilt about the accident," he said. "We are trying to help him get past that. None of us blame him. He is a great kid and comes from a family with integrity. He talks to and goes to see Mackenzie as often as he can."

Simcox said he is employed at USG in Cloquet, but finds he has to brush up on his carpentry skills as he remodels the old farmhouse to accommodate Mackenzie's wheelchair.

"We moved into my grandpa's (Ernie Morse) place in 1985," he said. "It's an old farmhouse. I am making the bathroom a lot bigger and I have already widened the doors and plan to build a good-sized ramp. I built a temporary ramp for now."

Friends and family are pitching in to help.

"A lot of friends have offered to come and help," said Simcox. "We are purchasing materials as we can."

Mackenzie said she will be home in a month.

"She's pretty determined," said Simcox. "She has a really good attitude. She is working to find ways to adapt. She's gaining arm strength and she can wheel her wheelchair by herself most of the time."

Once Mackenzie returns home, more therapy will be needed.

"Dr. (Carolyn) Forsman at Miller Dwan is going to be her lifelong companion," Simcox said. "She (Dr. Forsman) has been just great. The whole staff at Essentia and St. Mary's were great."

As people kept coming to Brick's Pub and Grub Saturday evening, Simcox and Mackenzie were overwhelmed. They are grateful for everyone in the community that has supported them since the tragic accident.

"A bunch of my musician friends donated a bunch of stuff to the silent auction," said Simcox. "A lot of our friends have gone around and picked up items the businesses have donated. They (the businesses) have been so generous. That's just awesome. USG supplied utensils and dishes for the dinner and items for the silent auction. Friends and family have come from out of state today. There are some here from North Dakota and others from Wisconsin. We want to thank everyone from the bottoms of our hearts for everything they have done for us. We really appreciate everything."

A GoFundMe page has been set up at

Lois E. Johnson

Mackenzie Jarve with her parents, Dave and Tonya Simcox of Kettle River.


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