SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) — A University of Utah student suffered a rare spinal cord stroke that left him paralyzed and unable to breathe on his own over the holidays. His family has since reached out to tell the story and seek help.

Brian Maynard began to feel stiffness in his neck while visiting family in Nevada. Shortly after he heard a ‘pop’ and felt pain and numbness spread through his body. By the time he reached the hospital, Maynard was barely able to breathe and his lips had turned blue.

Maynard was life-flighted to St. George Regional Hospital where he was diagnosed and stabilized. He is now at Craig H. Neilsen Rehabilitation Hospital where he is receiving care to keep him alive, according to the GoFundMe page.

Fiona Maynard, Brian’s mother, says he has an amazing group of roughly 20 friends that visit him in groups of four every day.

“For everyone lucky enough to know Brian and to be his friend, you know he is the best of us, the one who is always here for us. He’s the youngest in his group of college friends, but he’s the ‘Dad’ of the group – on camping trips he’s the one who brings the 10-person tent, the grill and the meat,” Kathy Nenneker, the organizer of the GoFundMe wrote.

Spinal cord strokes are an extremely rare form of stroke making up 1.25% of all U.S. stroke cases. Only 30-40% of those who suffer from a spinal cord stroke see improvement, according to the GoFundMe page.

Maynard had no other health conditions and was physically fit, according to Fiona Maynard who described the sudden stroke as “baffling”. While he suffers from paralysis and an inability to breathe, his cognitive function remains intact.

“Although he couldn’t speak, Brian was able to communicate by raising his eyebrows [to] identify letters. He spelled out to his doctors, ‘I will never give up,'” Nenneker wrote.

While Maynard and his family are hoping for the rare outcome of a full recovery, Maynard is especially praying that his function will return in his right hand.

“He’s an amazing artist and his goal is to work in animation and gaming,” Nenneker wrote. “When his group of friends from college visited in ICU earlier this week, he shared with them that when he became numb he was scared but while he was losing feeling he was praying to God that he wouldn’t lose his right hand – the hand he draws with.”

Maynard’s family has asked for support from anyone who is willing to help pay his medical bills. His GoFundMe has currently raised $28,523 out of its $300,000 goal in the one day since it was published.

“It’s going to be a long road but I have total faith in my son and his determination and will,” Fiona Maynard said.

Prior to his move from the St. George Regional Hospital, Fiona Maynard said he was mouthing the words to his favorite song by Jason Mraz, “I won’t give up,” according to Nenneker’s description.

I won’t give up on us / Even if the skies get rough / I’m giving you all my love / I’m still looking up

To view the GoFundMe, please visit: