EASTON, Conn. -- With each day, 17-year-old Zach Standen of Easton is gathering strength and getting one step closer toward his goal of walking again.
Zach was injured in a car accident on June 26 that left him paralyzed from the waist down.
A GoFundMe page has been set up to help his family is cover medical expenses as a result of the accident. To date, it has raised over $33,000 of its $50,000 goal.
The family hopes to purchase a wheelchair-accessible van -- which is estimated at $46,000 -- and a mechanical lift, for $3,500, that would fit the family's garage to make it easier for Zach to get into his home.
The amount raised will also go toward Zach's future medical expenses.
"It's a miracle that these boys are alive. The hand of God was there that day," Zach's mother Christine Standen said in a recent phone interview.
According to Standen, the accident occurred on the west end of Cross Highway in Redding. Zach was partially ejected from the car, which was driven by his best friend, who lost control of the vehicle, according to the Easton Courier.
Zach, who the backseat passenger, sustained 23 fractures and 10 broken ribs in the crash. His T9 thoracic vertebra was injured, which left him paralyzed, the Easton Courier said.
The car was going 40 mph over the speed limit, according to Zach's mother.
Christine Standen said she bears no ill feelings toward her son's best friend, whose mother is her best friend. The boys have known each other since they were in the fourth grade, she said.
"It can truly happen to any family within five seconds," she said. "The love, support and outpouring of generosity from the public has restored my faith in humanity."
She said she feels fortunate that her son is alive and that the injury did not affect his brain.
Zach is a senior at Joel Barlow High School in Redding, where he attends classes for half the day. Twice a week, he receives outpatient therapy at Gaylord Specialty Hospital in Wallingford.
According to Christine Standen, Zach is making great progress toward standing upright on his own, which is his short-term goal. To stand upright, he wears an exsosuit, "which is a rigid frame you strap into that enables you to walk," she said.
Zach is going through training and therapy to learn to get into the suit and stand upright without his blood pressure rising. He recently got to 80 degrees for 15 minutes in the standing frame, while his blood pressure remained stable, she said.
Recently, Zach has been active in coaching co-ed soccer through the Easton Community Parks and Recreation.
"Zach is very positive and motivated. He has never harbored any anger toward his friend who was driving," Christine Standen said. "We need to move past that day and move forward with our life."