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Friends gather to pray for crash victim (video)

By Bianca Montes
June 20, 2013 at 1:20 a.m.
Updated June 21, 2013 at 1:21 a.m.

Organizers pass out balloons to friends and family of 21-year-old Nicholas "Niko" Ramirez, who has been in a coma since a motorcycle accident  May 26, at a prayer gathering on land belonging to the Ramirez family. Attendees prayed for Ramirez's recovery and released the balloons into the sky.

How to help

What: A benefit barbecue to help cover the costs of Nicholas Ramirez's medical bills

When: 11 a.m. Aug. 10

Where: Victoria Jaycee Hall

Menu: $7 brisket plates

The first time friends and family of Nicholas "Niko" Ramirez gathered in prayer, a miracle happened, they say.

"He opened his eyes, and he moved his toes," Michael Ramirez said about his brother's recovery. "He survived."

Michael Ramirez said doctors did not think his brother would make it past the 48-hour mark.

Ramirez has been in a coma since a motorcycle crash in May. His motorcycle struck the right wheel of a 2008 Suzuki all-terrain vehicle, causing him to flip over several times before landing headfirst in a ditch.

The group of about 70 people gathered again Thursday, praying for God to once again perform a miracle.

"We pray God lets him wake up," Michael Ramirez said.

Michael Ramirez said his brother's body is awake, but his mind isn't.

Ramirez has shown signs of progress by moving his hands and legs and opening his eyes.

Steven Salazar has been friends with Ramirez for more than a decade and said he was numb when he heard about the accident.

"My first reaction was, 'No, not our Niko.'"

Salazar said he used all of his vacation hours sitting by Ramirez's bedside and has seen his best friend's health improve and decline.

Salazar said watching the miracle of prayer has fully restored his faith.

"I have so much faith; it's comforting," he said.

Salazar wasn't about to attend the first prayer group because he immediately went to San Antonio after the crash.

Today, he said, he is praying for Ramirez to regain purposeful movement.

Longtime friend Kendalyn Brinkman, who's been at Ramirez's side often since the accident, said she gets chills thinking about the last time they all gathered to pray.

"I have full faith in God," she said. "I know he has a bigger plan for Niko. I know he will wake up."

Brinkman said Ramirez has affected almost everyone at the prayer circle in one way, and that's why so many people continue to pray and continue to gather.

"It just brings tears to my eyes," she said.

After a short prayer, the group released dozens of orange balloons.

"Time will heal," Salazar said. "It will heal my hurt. It will heal his body."

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