ATHENS, Ga. — Levi Brooks was just like every other 9-year-old. He was energetic, loud and excited about life and he hoped to one day become a pastor.

One day late last July, his life suddenly changed.

Levi's dad, Chip, is a firefighter with the Gwinnett County Fire Department, so he is no stranger to emergencies. 

The emergency on this day, however, happened in his own home. 

"I was getting a cup of coffee and happened to look down the hall and Levi was laying in the floor," Brooks said.

"He was saying, 'a little help here, please?' I knew what was going on but I was in denial."

Chip immediately went over to Levi to see what was wrong.

In his father's arms, Levi said that he could not move his legs.

Levi developed a rare condition called a brain arteriovenous malformation (AVM) which is a tangle of abnormal blood cells connecting arteries and veins in the brain which disrupts blood flow.

This a rare condition that affects less than one percent of the population, according to the Mayo Clinic. 

Levi was eventually taken via helicopter to Children's Healthcare of Atlanta at Scottish Rite where doctors performed emergency surgery to remove the brain bleed. 

"We didn't know if Levi was going to live or not," Chip Brooks said. 

Brooks told 11Alive that Levi was an otherwise healthy kid so it was surprising that this happened so quickly. 

Now, more than a year after Levi's medical emergency, he and his family are in need of support.

The family is surviving on Chip's sole income as a firefighter. Sara, Levi's mom, stays home to take care of him and home schools his four other siblings. 

Levi is currently fed with a feeding tube and needs assistance with various daily tasks including bathing. 

Though progress is slow, Levi's parents told 11Alive that his condition is improving.

"He's currently in a vegetative state but he is emerging to a minimally conscious state," Chip Brooks said. 

A minimally conscious state is a severe but not complete impairment of awareness.

In this challenging time for the Brooks family, they have received an outpouring of support from people across the country. The family is currently raising money via their Go Fund Me page to buy Levi a new wheelchair van. 

The family currently has to take two SUVs to transport their family. 

Their Love for Levi Facebook page has more than 11,000 likes and follows. Many of these supporters are reminded of Tripp Halstead, who died in 2018, after suffering a brain injury.

Levi's parents told 11Alive that he is teaching them what it means to have faith.

They said that they are hoping and praying that Levi returns to full health so he can realize his full potential. 

"Levi is definitely ministering to us, and he wants to be a preacher, so he's preaching to us," Chip Brooks said. 

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