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Youngstown woman needs help to bring sick brother home from China

Published: Sun, August 10, 2014 @ 12:01 a.m.




Dawn Borosko last spoke to her brother March 13. He was in China and was desperate to leave.

He was headed to the airport that same day to catch a flight home that his family had arranged for him. But he never made it to the airport.

Some type of accident befell John Berisford, 36, of West Virginia, the day he was set to leave China. He has been in a coma in a hospital in Yangzhou ever since.

For the past five months, his sister has been trying to raise the nearly $100,000 needed to pay his hospital bills and for an air ambulance to bring him back to the United States.

“I’m begging now, for people to help me get him home,” said Borosko, 40, of Youngstown. “I just wish somebody would step up and say, ‘Hey we’ll help you’.”

Berisford moved to China in December 2013 to work as an English language teacher at the Web International English Training Center in Yangzhou. Borosko said her brother previously taught in South Korea for 11 years before getting a job offer in China. Before working abroad, Berisford lived in Moundsville, W.Va., and attended West Virginia University.

“He loved to teach people. That was his passion,” she recalled. “He was doing great. He loved what he did.”

She described her brother as outgoing, a “people person” and very intelligent. “He was just lovable. He was never in a bad mood. He was always willing to help somebody. He had never seen a stranger.”

Borosko has had fundraisers such as spaghetti dinners and jewelry sales, gradually chipping away at the $100,000 — $64,000 to pay for an air ambulance and $35,000 to pay for a hospital bill that grows by the day. To date, she has raised a little more than $26,000.

Borokso said the best way to donate is through her

GoFundMe page at gofundme.com/8l2igs. Donations can also be made to the “Bring John Home” account at Bayer Heritage Federal Credit Union in West Virginia. For more information about fundraisers, including the “Everyone Give A Dollar” campaign that is ongoing, go to the “Bring John Home” page on Facebook.

She has reached out to many government officials and has been communicating with the offices of U.S. Sen. Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia and West Virginia Senate President and Lt. Gov. Jeffrey Kessler. “I even sent the president of the United States a note, asking for help,” she said.

“This office has worked to help open communication between [Dawn] and Sen. Rockefeller’s and Sen. [Joe] Manchin’s office, and has worked a lot with Sen. Rockefeller’s office to expedite the return of Mr. Berisford to the United States,” said Steve McElroy, senior assistant to Kessler. “We hope and pray that it comes to a conclusion that is beneficial to all, and John is brought back to the state of West Virginia.

“Kessler will do whatever he can to make sure that happens. This being a federal issue, he has worked with federal elected officials to try and obtain Mr. Berisford’s return.”

Borosko, however, said she is not satisfied with the response of government officials.

“It’s been five months now. And I just wish the government would do a little more to help me get him home. Especially with the plane, the transportation,” she said. “If they wanted to get him out of there, they would have.”

Asked to confirm aspects of Berisford’s circumstances in China, a State Department official declined to comment, citing privacy considerations.

Borosko said what bothers her most are the circumstances surrounding her brother’s accident, which are still unclear to her.

“I can’t really get exactly what happened,” she said. “It was weird how it all transpired.”

“I think that’s why it bothers me so bad, is I talked to him that day and he said, ‘I just want to come home.’ So I called my brother, my other one, who’s overseas, and he said: ‘I’ll get him a ticket. Tell him to go to the airport.’ And he never showed,” she said. She added that she finds it suspicious that Berisford’s money was missing from his apartment after the accident.

Borosko has had a lot of trouble getting information from police officials in China, and from doctors at the hospital where Berisford is staying.

“We all seem to believe there’s more to the story than what’s being said,” she said.

Borosko said the situation is made all the more difficult because her other brother, who is in the military, is currently in Afghanistan, and their mother is in extremely poor health.

Borosko said she receives updates about every two weeks from the American consulate in Shanghai, and that reports indicate her brother’s condition is improving slightly.

“Now he’s opening his eyes. When you walk in, and you touch him, he opens his eyes. If you make any type of noise, he opens his eyes. Which is all progress,” she said.

It will still be a long road to bring him home, however.


1janeyblue3(83 comments)posted 1 year, 5 months ago

This story has more holes than a one ton block of Swiss cheese. What type of accident befell this man? She never mentions or did she even ask? She only speaks to someone every two weeks? If she does not understand the language, she could have asked long ago for help translating. I'm sure there would be a YSU student more than willing to help, even if it were for a modest fee.
My big question is, he calls, wants to come home immediately. His brother buys him a ticket which is waiting at the airport. Then he has an unexplainable accident. Yet after he flees his apartment, has this accident, the next day his money is missing from the apartment. Why on earth did he not take his money? What was the big hurry to flee the country that he left his money behind? If he had money why didn't he buy his own ticket ? In order to purchase a ticket in anot hers persons name, you need his SSN, passport number, along with other vital information. Most brokers, agents or airlines wait to issue a ticket until they have proof payment has cleared.
Indeed, " there's more to this story than what's being said."
Yours Truly,
Jessica Fletcher

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2Johnsfriend(4 comments)posted 1 year, 5 months ago

Jessica, his sister calls, emails whatever she can do everyday. They only get back to her every 2 weeks. She is doing everything to get her brother home. Flee?? Who said anything about that. He didn't like China and we don't know why, he didn't try to flee he wanted to come home. His sister has busted her ass to find a translator and nobody will help, maybe u can since u have so much to say. He never left his apartment, so u saying he was at the airport is a complete lie. He was found on his bed unconscious. We are doing everything we can to find out what happened and nobody wants to tell her. John was a great guy and would never cause trouble. So for ur comment above is complete ignorance. People like u is why r country is so messed up. Please don't be putting ur words in this. Flee!!! NO it said he wanted to come home. It wasn't a secret that he was wanting to come home and on the day that he was suppose to , he was found in HIS APARTMENT unconscious , never did it say he ran down the road to the airport leaving all his belongings , thank u for reading and getting all ur facts wrong. If u think u can get us more info faster, please do so but we have been on China and the US for answers and nobody wants to give them.
Sincerely Johns friend

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3Johnsfriend(4 comments)posted 1 year, 5 months ago

Really?? For stated facts. Sorry but they always say " there is always an ignorant person in the bunch" she completely didn't ask, she stated that he was fleeing , which is not correct. If people say , Johnsfriend completely stated the facts of someone's lies, so now I'm not donating, we'll then fine. It's not because of my truthfulness though, it's because of them.
People sit and wonder what is wrong with r country. Maybe cause some people let things like this happen to r American citizens. Us Americans need to stick up for one another. Not bash a person who has been hurt and the family can't get answers and they want him home.
If this was ur loved one , u wouldn't want someone stating known facts

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4fishstory(2 comments)posted 1 year, 5 months ago

I agree with janeyblue about the holes in this story. why hasn't the sister or other brother overseas went and seen him after 5 months. passports don't take that long to get especially if there is an emergency involved. if I had a family member sick and in a coma I would be on the next plane there even if I had to sell everything or borrow the money. sounds like someone is out to get money with 3 different places asking for money and who all has access to the money. all the stories are about getting money and no one has mentioned about going to see him themselves. there was an article about him on another news channel about him being a really bad alcoholic which may have caused the coma, just knowing that you would think the family would be there checking into this instead of waiting 5 months. whatever the case, seems rather sad that someone would leave a family member in another country and only relying on emails every 2 weeks from a stranger.

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5Johnsfriend(4 comments)posted 1 year, 5 months ago

Sweat pea.. People like u is what will make r country become a third world country one day. Hope u don't vote..
His brother is fighting in war and they will not such argue him, he is trying to get discharged. His sister was told by the US Embassy and the State Department that it wasn't safe for her to go over. China could detain her for the medical bill since she is POA. I said the same thing. If it was my brother I would have went but them when I seen the stuff telling his sister not to and that it could be very dangerous for her then I understood. They family don't need 2 hurt family members over there. China stated that John wasn't getting the right medical treatment over there only cause they don't have it, not cause they don't want too. They said John needs to be in the US to get the right medical treatment. As far as alcoholic , that he wasn't, he might have drank but he has a PHD and was enjoying life. But never a alcohol abuse. Never heard that one till now. That's what Dawn is trying to say. The stories r changing on her family. The government will not help and China will not say what happened. There is a lot of holes but that's only cause China will not say anything to get the family the right answers. The government has the power to do so and should for the family

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6Johnsfriend(4 comments)posted 1 year, 5 months ago

I'm glad she took the story to her area. Where John was born and raised the media has picked it up too. This needs to be out. I feel for her. All she wants is her brother home. She has been begging the government to help. She has been told that she has to get the money herself and we all know that an air ambulance is a lot and she don't have it. What is real sad us that people say . Wow I'm so confused on the story. Back and forth stuff. Imagine it being ur family and that's what u got. A bunch of nothing. They won't help nor tell her anything but every couple weeks they send her pics of him and that's about it. We all know that she shouldn't have to get the money herself, the government could do this all for free. They just won't. Just very heart breaking

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7billdog1(4666 comments)posted 1 year, 5 months ago

Militarymom2, I couldn't agree more. This is in fact a sad story. Repeatedly over the years I've stated, "Why the heck would anybody want to go to one of these craphole countries that has a history of treating American's poorly?

Johnsfriend, Our gooberment does not do anything that is free. People get paid to work (pilots, doctors, nurses,) medical supplies cost money and fuel for that plane cost money. Like you have stated, these type of arrangements require a large amount of of funds. It would be tax dollars being used and the hospital in China would still want paid. Yes, our gooberment needs to do its best to get this man home. Maybe he and those that know him will see that our country is unique in its treatment of humans. Crapholes like this need to fend for themselves and American's need to stay the heck out of them or enter at their own risk. We know countries like these have no concern for our citizens or their well-being.

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8fishstory(2 comments)posted 1 year, 4 months ago

someone needs to call the police and investigate this story now https://www.facebook.com/events/14550...
this is a crime and they need punished

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