PORTAGE | Adam Paskevich was ready to travel to Cleveland to watch his beloved Chicago Bears take on the Browns earlier this month.
Instead, the 29-year-old Portage man was severely injured in a fire that swept through his apartment early the morning of Dec. 14. He suffered smoke inhalation and received burns over 35 percent of his body.
Paskevich remains in Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood, Ill., in an induced coma.
"Every day is a little bit better," his mom, Candi Paskevich, said this week. "They just keep stressing it is going to take a while."
Paskevich, "Pasko" to his friends, has had one surgery including skin grafts to his neck, arm, chest and abdomen. He will have to undergo a second surgery for skin grafts to his legs at a later date.
The fire broke out in his third floor apartment in the 3300 block of East Bend about 5:30 a.m. that morning. Paskevich had been sleeping, but apparently was wakened by smoke detectors. Firefighters found him in the hallway of his apartment.
He lost everything in the fire, including his cat.
Paskevich is a 2002 graduate of Portage High School, where he threw shot put and discus for the track team. He has worked at Hooters in Merrillville as a cook for the last 10 years.
His mom said he did not have health insurance.
Friends Lisa Sarbiewski, of Valparaiso, and Missy Mattingly, of Portage, are organizing a fundraiser to help the family defray his mounting medical costs.
They will host an "Everybody Loves Pasko" fundraising event from 7:30 to 11 p.m. Jan. 24 at Clancy's Irish Pub, 2542 Portage Mall. There will be entertainment provided by Dan Reisen and more, food and a silent auction and raffles. Admission is $10 per person.
Sarbiewski said they have received several donated items, including autographed sports memorabilia, that will be auctioned to benefit Paskevich.
Sarbiewski said they have also opened a donation account at www.gofundme.com/officialpaskodonations.
Candi Paskevich said they anticipate Adam will remain in the hospital for at least a month and then will likely receive inpatient rehabilitative care.
"He's young and he's got that going for him," she said about her son's prognosis.