Magazines and news headlines are frequently overrun with Charlie Sheen’s unsavory escapades, but this time there’s a good reason for him to be in the media – he recently donated $10,000 so 15-year-old Teagan Marti could receive a therapy dog.
“I think he’s a very kind person for helping me and my family, and very generous,” Teagan Marti said.
In July of 2010, the Marti family drove from their home in Parkland, Florida to Extreme World in Wisconsin Dells after Teagan had seen the “Terminal Velocity” free fall ride on the Travel Channel.
“I figured that it would be safe and be fine to do. … I watched several people before her. … I saw several times that it was being done and it looked like everything was organized and done well,” said father Alex Marti. “Except in this case, the platform went up and never reached the top, and we were waiting for it to go to the top, and they were trying to lift the net below and before – the net was still on the ground, and all of a sudden, she’s released from the bucket. And she falls 100 feet directly to the ground. To me, it’s just impossible to imagine that something like that could happen.”
The then 12-year-old girl suffered injuries to her skull and pelvis, and 10 fractures in her spine.
“She was basically unconscious, not moving and laying flat on her back with blood coming out of her ears and nose,” Alex explained. “Just a horrible, horrible scene. At the moment she fell and I heard that loud thud, I just assumed she was dead.”
Alex, a radiologist, performed CPR on his daughter and brought her back to life. She was hospitalized for three months, and with physical therapy, is able to walk with a walker.
Teagan’s mother Julie said they are in financial trouble because of medical bills and her recent divorce. Their home is being foreclosed upon and their insurance is no longer covering Teagan’s physical therapy. The idea of a therapy dog seemed to be out of the question.
“I’m in such disbelief,” Julie said. “I was crying. … What a guy. What a guy.”
Lucia Wilgus became friends with the Martis after learning about their daughter’s injury. She organized fundraising, found a golden retriever puppy and arranged for training. She sent a letter to a family friend who is Sheen’s godfather.
The dog is being trained to turn on lights, pick up objects and to just be a good companion to Teagan. Wilgus estimated the training and related costs to be about $6,000. Sheen said the request had a “personal vibe” since it came through his grandfather, and he decided to send extra money.
“If there’s a need for more I told them to call me,” he said.
“I like to pay it forward,” Sheen said. “People come into your orbit for a reason. You don’t always know what that is ahead of time, but if I ignore these requests then I don’t have any opportunity to see where these things lead us, or lead me.”
Sheen said he doesn’t like to broadcast his donations, but wanted to make this one public to inspire others to donate.
Teagan will receive the dog on her birthday in September. She hasn’t yet picked a name out for it.
“I think they should name the dog Charlie,” Sheen said jokingly.