NORTH BRANCH, Minn. (KMSP) - Fourteen-year-old Kody Roettjer needed a miracle after he crashed his ATV just north of the metro a few weeks ago. It didn’t happen.
But while his family is heartbroken about losing their son, the Roettjers gained something by sharing Kody’s story and his fight.
The high school freshman, who just celebrated landing a big part in the school musical in North Branch, Minnesota, suffered a gruesome head injury in an ATV crash on Oct. 1.
"He is brilliant,” Tamyra Roettjer, Kody’s mom, said. “He was going to be a bio medical engineer. He already knew that. He could solve a Rubik’s cube in seconds.”
Kody was riding with a neighborhood friend without a helmet when something went horribly wrong. His dad, a former St. Paul police officer, was one of the first people on the scene.
"Our kids have always worn helmets because of what Kurt did,” Tamyra Roettjer, Kody’s mom, said. “Our kids may get made fun of. One time, one minute, taken just one second [and their] life [is] changed forever."
The injuries left Kody on life support.
The Roettjers needed a miracle, so they turned to social media for prayer and comfort.
A #fightkodyfight Twitter handle and hashtag were born.
Classmates and community members have comforted the family with fundraisers and outward displays of support.
Blue, Kody's favorite color showed up everywhere – including on the feet of the school's entire football team.
"There's no way we'd be as strong as we are right now if we didn't have thousands to people praying for us. No way.” Kody’s dad, Kurt, said.
Tragically over the weekend, after two weeks of fighting like a champion, Kody passed away. His family has now turned the fight-Kody-fight slogan into rest-Kody-rest.
"We got to sing with him, all the way. [We] actually sang with him as he went,” Taymra said. “We got to be there for everything, hold his hand. They did not think he would live. A lot of parents don't get the chance. [We were] just blessed for 14 years that he gave us. Blessed to have him and know him.”
Kody's parents told Fox 9 prayers and well wishes poured in from all over the world as they shared his story on social media. Closer to home, the North Branch community started a meal train to make sure the Roettjers get some home cooking as they prepare to bury their son.
Kody's wake and funeral are later this week.