By Michael Howlett Staff Writer
October 4, 2013
The sudden death of 22-year-old Jamie Lee Gravley has led his family and friends to honor his memory by starting the Project Jamie’s Christmas Wish. Gravley died on June 19, 2012, due to a Bi-Pulmonary Embolism, a blood clot in his lung.
“Our mission is to bring Christmas joy and spirit to children and families in need, and to insure a visit from Santa,” said Melanie Gravley, Jamie’s wife. “Our goal is to help 50 families this Christmas season by providing food, presents and smiles. We plan to have Santa hand out presents to children and give each family a take-home bag of food items to help them through the season.”
Melanie said the project is one Jamie would approve of.
“Jamie loved his family and friends, and would give the shirt off his back to help anyone who needed it,” she said. “He gave his heart to the JROTC program at Carroll County High School. He always saw the good in everyone. He would admit to anyone that he was indeed a ‘momma’s boy’ and always did his best to look out for his Mom and Sister.”
A few weeks prior to Jamie’s death, he began complaining of leg and knee pain, but was told by his doctor that it was a pulled muscle. He then developed a cough and chest pain, and was prescribed antibiotics for a respiratory infection.
A week later on June 19 the chest pain became “unbearable,” according to Melanie, and required a trip to the emergency room at Northern Hospital of Surry County, where Jamie received an antibiotic shot, a breathing treatment and a prescription for different antibiotics. Later that day, Melanie said Jamie was sitting on the couch “talking and joking around” with me and my mother” when he suddenly said ‘I don’t feel good,’ and went to the bathroom.”
“We heard a crash,” said Melanie, who, along with her mom, found Jamie lying on the bathroom floor. “We tried waking him up, but quickly realized he didn’t have a pulse. My mom, who is a nurse, started CPR while I called 9-1-1.”
Paramedics arrived and transported Jamie to the hospital, with Melanie and her mother following behind. Not long after Jamie arrived, a doctor told Melanie and other family members that Jamie “was gone.”
Jamie’s death came virtually a month after his and Melanie’s son, Jayson, celebrated his first birthday.
An autopsy revealed that Bi-Pulmonary Embolism was the cause of death.
“Jamie was healthy and active, none of it made sense,” said Melanie. “We searched for answers, but came up with none. We are now on a mission to spread the word and awareness of this silent killer, and in Jamie’s honor, Project Jamie’s Christmas Wish was created.”
In addition to making Christmas a joyful time for families, the project plans to provide care packages for soldiers.
Efforts to raise money for the project include yard sales and a formal dance planned for early November. Another fundraising event, a craft show, was held last month.
For more information about the project, call Melanie Gravley at 336-415-9076, Dee Brooks at 276-733-6532, or Chelsea at 336-648-2208, or visit www.facebook.com/jamiechristmaswish.