PHOENIX — Downtown Phoenix Ambassador Hans Hughes is awake and off a ventilator after he was hit by a suspected drunk driver last month while on his bicycle. He has been in the ICU since then, suffering from serious head and chest injuries.
This is something the community has been hoping for. Hans has been a fixture in downtown Phoenix for the past 12 years, showing locals and visitors around the city. They can't wait until he's back doing what he loves.
“Our brother is awake. He’s like trying to talk, he can't right now but he's trying, and that was… that was the greatest moment,” says Hana Kuykendall, Hans’ sister.
That is the first bit of good news in more than two weeks. It’s more than just a sign of progress -- for the family, it’s a sign of hope.
“I haven't lost my brother but, I essentially lost my brother. Then, for Monday to come around and they take him off the ventilator and he's getting up and going, I think that's a miracle. I think that's fabulous,” says Kuykendall.
“We were wondering, is he even going to be able to move? Is he going to have control over his body?” says Kuykendall.
His recovery has not been an easy one. Hans had developed an infection in his lungs but thankfully, he has recovered from that. Doctors took him off the ventilator on Monday. His family is shocked by how quickly things have turned around.
"He’s like getting out of bed, he can sit in a chair, my family was able to FaceTime with him and he like, smiled and he kind of acknowledges us,” says Kuykendall.
The community is continuing to rally around Hans. An event was held just last week to raise awareness and advocacy for bicycle safety. His friends are sharing this message: help Hans heal.
“Not only are we out on the streets in the community, you know, people are behind the scenes. We've got a whole database of names from friends and family who want to help contribute to cooking meals for him, cleaning, whenever he gets out of the hospital, says his friend, Lauren Potter.
Hundreds of donations have also been pouring in from the community to help with medical expenses.
"All he spreads is goodness and love, so that's what comes back. What you put out there is what you get back,” says Kuykendall.
Hans' sister believes he won't be in the ICU much longer, as long as he continues progressing.
The next step would be physical and occupational therapy.
A fundraiser has been set up to help with Hans' medical and living expenses, if you would like to help, you can donate here.