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Assistant Principal Eric Wong’s road to recovery

Wong+arrives+at+the+SCV+Rehabilitation+Center+for+physical+therapy+after+initial+care+at+the+UCSF+Medical+Center.+Photo+used+with+permission+from+Marilyn+Wong.
Wong arrives at the SCV Rehabilitation Center for physical therapy after initial care at the UCSF Medical Center. Photo used with permission from Marilyn Wong.

  • Assistant Principal Eric Wong faced a life-threatening hemorrhagic stroke, requiring urgent surgery.
  • Wong received swift treatment and was released after physical therapy.  He is currently residing at home to complete his recovery.
  • Community members have railed around Wong, raising funds, providing meals, and emotional support.

On the night of Oct. 10, Assistant Principal Eric Wong was taken by ambulance to El Camino Health Mountain View Hospital’s intensive care unit after experiencing extreme headaches, vomiting and loss of balance. There, he underwent emergency surgery to treat bleeding in his brain, due to a life-threatening hemorrhagic stroke. Wong then stayed at the neuro-ICU at the UCSF Medical Center for more than a week and was eventually transferred to a recovery ward. Afterward, he was moved to a rehabilitation hospital for physical therapy.

“When I first heard about the news, I was heartbroken,” Principal Maria Jackson said. 

A hemorrhagic stroke is bleeding in the brain induced by a ruptured blood vessel, which can become life-threatening when the blood continues to build up in the brain. Without fast and proper treatment, hemorrhagic strokes may cause brain damage and are sometimes fatal.

Fortunately, Wong received quick treatment at the UCSF neuro-ICU, where he was connected to a ventilator, which helped facilitate his breathing. Wong’s health rapidly improved, and soon after, he was soon able to breathe without invasive ventilator support. 

On Nov. 2, Wong started working with physical therapy professionals to regain strength and balance. Situated closer to home, his family is now able to spend more time with him. Twenty-eight days later, on Nov. 30, Wong was released from rehabilitation to complete his recovery at home.

Wong has also regained his speaking ability and is now able to communicate with his friends and co-workers, primarily through phone calls. Visits and conversations have primarily consisted of updates to fill him in on what he has missed. 

“It was wonderful to hear his voice,” Jackson said. “He had the same sense of humor — we all missed him so much and it was obvious that he missed us too.”

Lynbrook’s administrative team has also been working together to raise money for Wong’s family. Since the kitchen in their house is currently under construction, the team rented a wheelchair-accessible Airbnb on his behalf, providing Wong and his family with comfortable housing for the holidays. 

The Lynbrook community has also been raising money to provide the family with meals. Prior to Wong’s surgery, their home refrigerator had broken down, forcing them to adapt to using a small dorm refrigerator. Fortunately, the community was able to supply them with a fully functioning fridge, while also delivering meals to the family.

“Wong was the cook in the house; he was like super dad,” Jackson said. “Without him in the house, it has been hard on his family. We’ve been using Doordash and Instacart gift cards to help bring meals to the family.”

On Nov. 17, the admin team also opened a GoFundMe page, which proved a huge success, raising $48,741 as of Dec. 5. Students have also been showing support by bringing cards to the office to be delivered to Wong and his family. 

“Mr. Wong is very positive and upbeat; he has done a lot for this school,” junior Ishani Upadhyaya said. “I hope he takes all the time he needs to recover.” 

Wong is expected to make a full recovery, though the process will require patience and support. During the first month and a half of his recovery, Josh Maisel, the FUHSD Director of Leadership Development, temporarily relocated to Lynbrook to handle some of Wong’s duties. Prior to his relocation, Maisel worked at the district office but also spent time at Cupertino High School to oversee new teacher support programs. 

“It was really clear to me, when I got here, how much love people have for him,” Maisel said. “He’s a great administrator and leader, and I hope I lived up to what people expect from him during my time at Lynbrook.”

After a formal search for a more long-term replacement, Kimberlee Morgan, the Social Studies Department Lead at Cupertino was chosen as Wong’s temporary replacement on Nov. 9. With prior experience as a temporary assistant principal at Cupertino in the spring of 2021, Morgan transitioned to working at Lynbrook on Dec. 1, taking over Wong’s various responsibilities such as supporting the social studies, physical education, mental health and guidance departments and coordinating after-school events. 

“I’m looking forward to challenging myself professionally; this is a new job and a new site,” Morgan said. “There will be a steep learning curve, and while a little daunting, it’s also an exciting challenge.”

As an instrumental part of the administrative faculty, Wong is beloved and appreciated by many. His journey in FUHSD goes back to Fremont High School, where he was a teacher for many years, fostering relationships with many staff in FUHSD.

“We miss having him around because he always has a smile on his face,” Lead Resource Specialist Anne Greene said. “We definitely miss his spirit here.”

As Wong continues to recover, the community wishes him the best for his recovery. Wong is thankful for all the support staff and students have shown him, reading and re-reading all the cards that were sent his way.

“I am very fortunate to work with somebody like Eric,” Jackson said. “You never know how special someone is to you until you’re in a situation where their life is on the line. I hope he knows that he is very loved.”

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About the Contributor
Ashley Huang, Sports Editor
(she/her) Ashley is a junior and this year's sports editor. Outside of journalism, she loves playing the violin, dancing, and playing with her cat.

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