Yousef Gharbi, Aurora victim with bullet in head, talking, smiling ahead of skull surgery

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Update: As we reported last week, Yousef Gharbi, sixteen, was among the most seriously wounded victims of the Aurora theater shooting, having been struck by a bullet that may have to remain in his head for the rest of his life.

Since our post, Yousef's mom has been regularly updating his Caring Bridge page with honest, open, deeply felt accounts. Fortunately, the news keeps getting better and better.

Here's a post from Saturday:

Yousef's breathing tube has been removed! He is trying to speak a little, even though his mother told him to give it a day or two. He's had that tube in there for a week so he needs to let his throat heal and go back to normal. He is scared, not understanding, and tried to cry twice. He did raise his hand to his head, the top, and then started to cry. I am pretty sure he knows what happened.

My poor boy.... I wish I could take his place.

I am doing my best to make light of things, telling him to be patient, he's safe...but this is where the road gets ruff!!! I am preparing to be up all night with him...probably for the next few nights. But, whatever it takes to get my boy back to his ol' smiling self I will do it.

Eating and sleeping are overrated anyway....

In a subsequent post, Yousef's mom wrote that during that night, he had "what I call the heebi-jeebies. He complained of being hot all night, even though he had no fever and the temp in the room was set at 68. Emilee and I stayed up all night with him, putting cold clothes on him, which warmed up within minutes.

"He finally, with the help of some pain medication and Tylenol, slept around 5 a.m. (which is when I was finally able to settle down as well) and seemed peaceful for awhile. Not sure when he woke up as Emilee got up with him until she woke me at 8:45 or so.

"He seems, by comments made, to know a few things about this tragic night. He has cried a little bit...more than once begged that we go home. He does not want to be here. He even asked me why I brought him here. I do not want to send him into emotional chaos until he is more stable, so I told him that he had been hurt and this was the best place to bring him. He didn't say anything."

Glad to report that the most recent update, from yesterday, is considerably more upbeat. It reads:

Yousef has been absolutely AMAZING!!! Yesterday, Sunday, he was talking, smiling and whining! LOL!!! To be expected...obviously.

Today we were advised that tomorrow they will perform a cranioplasty...using his own skull. My son will be "whole" again, with all his own original parts. Less than 2 weeks after being removed his skull will return to it's original home! Praise God!

She adds, "Please continue with your prayers and donations. Yousef needs all the love, care, prayer and assistance we can provide him. Although he has come a long way in a rather short time, the road that lies before us is still long and rocky."

An IndieGoGo site has been set up to raise funds for Yousef's recovery. At this point, just over $3,000 has been collected toward a $10,000 goal. Look below to see our previous coverage.

Original post, 7:26 a.m. July 27: Among the most seriously wounded of the Aurora theater shooting victims is Yousef Gharbi, a vibrant and much loved sixteen year old who reportedly may have to live the rest of his life with a bullet in his head.

Despite this prospect, his family's latest update about his condition is upbeat and optimistic.

Gharbi's loved ones have set up a Caring Bridge page to let everyone know how he's doing. Here's how his story is described:

Yousef Gharbi was tragically injured at the Century 16 movie theatre on July 20, 2012. He and a friend went to see the premiere of Batman, showing in theatre 9 at 12:05. From what we can gather, until Yousef is able to confirm what he knows, shooting began at approximately 12:35am and critically injured Yousef. He was the 1st to arrive at University of Colorado Hospital and has been a resident here since roughly 1:05am on Friday, July 20, 2012...the day that changed his life forever, unexpectedly, unplanned and undeserved....

Last night, his family members posted the following note, which includes details about his health and a recent visit from members of the Colorado Rockies:

Yousef had a few problems earlier in the week: collapsed left lung, high blood pressure, increased/dangerous heart rate. The exceptional staff at UCH moved quickly, competently and as a team to be sure Yousef was ready for anything.

Yesterday he had a wonderful day. I am blaming that on the fact that I was not here for much of the day.... I think he needed a break from his mother, who has stuck herself to his side since about 5:30am Friday, July 20th. I have in the last 2 day's ventured out....:)

Today his day started off just as good. However, with the visit from the Colorado Rockies (just some, not all) and 2 teenage girls running in and out, he is now exhausted. But, he is still doing well enough that the physicians caring for him want to begin taking the next steps in his recovery....

As always we ask for your prayers! Donations will take care of the boy once he is safe...but God will take care of the boy to MAKE him safe!

Our love and never ending gratitude to all of you!!!

As reported in the 9News item linked above, a fundraiser for Gharbi will be held at Yo Craze Frozen Yogurt, at the northeast corner of Tower and Hampden in Aurora, from 10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. on August 10. Donations for his care and recovery can be sent to 1st Bank of Colorado in Gharbi's name at fund account # 3813719685.

Here's a 9News video with more about Gharbi.

More from our News archive: "Aurora theater shooting: Rebecca Wingo's loved ones remember her online."

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