News Release

“Blessings and Gratitude, ” A Letter and Update from Reed & Diane Wilcox

Today, Reed & Diane Wilcox shared the following letter with the Southern Virginia University community.

Blessings and Gratitude

Thanks: I want to share an update on recent events, my recovery, and how grateful we are to our dear friends and colleagues for your friendship, prayers, and offers to help. Thank you! We’ve seen Heaven’s hand over this university since we came nine years ago, and have felt it again during recent events!

I also want to share how grateful I am for my good and capable friend Dr. Eric Denna. He is a great man with a great mind and a great heart – a man for all seasons. I proposed he join our Board of Trustees in 2021 precisely because of his great capacity and spirit. We have important things to do right now to fulfill the destiny of our university. Having stepped in on very short notice, Eric deserves our full, enthusiastic support!

Background: Several weeks ago, while enjoying New Year’s Eve weekend, things took an unexpected turn. Without warning, I was stricken with a severely upset stomach, followed by a momentary blackout, a sudden fall, and a fractured left femur. As we later learned, an unusual form of “silent” internal bleeding had suddenly become severe, and was now compounded by the trauma of a major bone fracture. Both injuries were further aggravated by a complicated late-night emergency rescue down two sets of stairs, into a small ambulance, and to the emergency room of the community hospital in Lexington.

Upon arrival, the E.R. physician quickly determined I needed immediate medical evacuation to a larger hospital, but Flight for Life was grounded with weather below helicopter minimums. Moreover, it was New Year’s weekend, and no large hospitals had any rooms available. Even the local hospital was short-staffed that night. We waited, we prayed, and our sons gave me a Priesthood blessing.

Then things began to change.

Outcome: Just a few minutes later, around midnight, a room at the large regional hospital in Roanoke momentarily opened and I was admitted — after 24 hours when no trauma center hospital rooms had been available anywhere. A team of superb Flight for Life medics rapidly arranged emergency transport by ambulance, and quickly equipped with medicine and supplies they felt impressed to bring on board. These were men of faith with battlefield med-evac experience. Still in flight suits, they arrived in the E.R. and immediately took charge. They transferred me into their ambulance, started pain medication, and began a vital transfusions of blood and platelets that hadn’t been available that night at the local hospital — but which they had felt impressed to bring along.

I was stabilized by the time we arrived in Roanoke. Three surgical procedures over the next five days identified and repaired the sources of internal bleeding and expertly replaced the entire left hip to repair the fractured femur.

My doctors concluded that years of long hours, extensive travel, lack of sleep, significant stress, and Advil to manage resultant chronic tension headaches almost certainly precipitated the internal bleeding, which in turn led to the fracture and potentially lethal complications.

After meeting with my medical team, it’s clear that although mobility will improve sooner, taking another three to four months to enable permanent internal healing and recovery will save years of problems in the future. I also need to avoid exposure to infection for a few more months, so I won’t be out and about as much as normal. But based on progress to date, healing is going well and should result in complete recovery. I can’t wait to see you all again!

Gratitude: We’re grateful for Heavenly Father’s care, for your prayers and faith, and for Priesthood blessings which I believe opened the door for many other critical blessings: the hospital admission, the expert and inspired Flight for Life team and the critical transfusion supplies they felt to bring along, the initial remediation of the bleeding by the next day, and the remarkable availability of that area’s premier orthopedic hip replacement team at that precise time and place — Sunday morning, New Year’s Day. We’re also very grateful for the Board’s support with this medical leave to recover and heal, and for Eric’s willingness to immediately step in. Again, please support and help him, and the university!

We have since learned what we’re glad we didn’t then know – that this severe but silent internal hemorrhage and major fracture could well have ended very differently. We’re grateful it was so quickly diagnosed, mitigated, and repaired. What blessings! We’re grateful for the truth of Isaiah’s words – that the Lord’s atonement underlies the miracle of healing, as well as the miracle of forgiveness:

“Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows…and with his stripes we are healed.”

Isaiah 53:4-5

Love and blessings,

Reed & Diane Wilcox