Friends and family rally around local musician

Nick Collins Jr.

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- Nick Collins Jr. is laid up in a hospital bed at MUSC, his left leg amputated above the knee.

Collins Jr. will need to have several more painful surgeries in what will be a long and extensive recovery. This week he was able to open his eyes for the first time in nearly 3 weeks.{}

Family members say he is becoming more responsive to those around him - but throughout Charleston's historic streets the response to his daunting task of getting better is strong.

Friends, family and fans gathered in the Uptown Bar & Grill Thursday. They were eager to help speed his recovery.

Nick Collins Jr.,{} a member of the extremely popular Charleston based band "Fowlers Mustache" and son of a former Mount Pleasant Councilman, is lucky to be alive.

On August 3rd, police say Collins Jr. was riding in a SUV on I-526 when his vehicle was hit by another, sending the SUV careening into a wall.

The force of the impact was enough to throw Collins Jr. into the middle of the roadway where he was then hit by a passing tractor trailer.

The truck hit him just below the waist. It happened as a friend was trying to pull him from the highway.

Collins Jr. was rushed to MUSC - he was fading quickly and bleeding out.

Doctors were able to save him, but he needed blood.

His fellow band mates, dedicated fans, and supporters organized a blood drive last week.{} They wanted to help get blood supplies back up and paying it forward for the precious gift Collins received that helped save his life.

On Thursday, those same supporters packed the Midtown, donations were taken, tips were collected all to help a man who helped so many with his music.

James Maybank, Owner of the Uptown bar and Grill benefit was just the right thing to do.

"He's been a supporter of us and we just really wanted to support him as well, Maybank said.

And they did, ten percent of everything the restaurant earned will be donated to Collin's recovery.

"It's very sad and difficult to think of somebody who's always so happy being in a position like this," Maybank said. "We're really just hoping to get him back playing music and happy."

Happy is how Nick Collins Sr. always views his son.

The patriarch was inside the Uptown to personally witness and thank everyone for the outpouring of support and donations.

"It really is incredibly overwhelming, heartwarming to feel the love from everybody," he said.

Collins Sr. went from person to person updating them on his son's condition, saying doctors finished amputating most of his left leg just hours before.

"He's going to be spending the next 48 hours recovering from that surgery because it was so hard on his body and more surgeries are due," Collins Sr. said.{} "But his vitals are strong and his head is clear."

And while the road to recovery will be a long one, Collins Sr. says he is thankful his son is still here.

"I'm very optimistic that he will live and survive.{} Quality of life will of course be an issue but he'll live and sound like he'll be able to play the guitar and sing and that's the main thing."

A second fundraiser will be held at the Windjammer on the Isle of Palms this Sunday, August 19th from 1:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.

Several local bands and performers will be there. Raffle tickets will be on sale and $10 donations will be taken at the door.

The driver of the car that caused Collins Jr's SUV to wreck was never found.

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