Vickey's Fund

In early November, 2014, Vickey Willoughby - Iarussi nearly lost her life to domestic violence.

Vickey is a mother, daughter, sister, aunt, and friend.  She is kind, compassionate, gentle, and the first to offer help to others no matter what they may need. She loves animals as well and has rescued many homeless pets over the years whose lives were in jeopardy.  Given this, when the man she was dating began showing signs of aggression toward her after several months together, she began separating from him; an often very difficult process with a partner prone to violence.  It’s during this time that he became upset and attacked her.

The Attack

Late one night her ex-boyfriend unexpectedly and viciously attacked her while she was watching TV.  He broke her neck in two places, then brutally beat her all over her body, bit her, ripped her clothes off, and shot her at point-blank range in the arm and in the head taking out her right eye.  He continued to violate her and held her captive, refusing to call 911 despite her pleading for him to do so. After several attempts to escape, Vickey was finally able to get away. She ran out of the house gravely injured and shirtless, with her beloved dog in tow, to find help and safety.

Although she was in and out of consciousness, she was able to run, and at times crawl, through the neighborhood looking for someone who could help her get to safety.  During this time, somehow, by the grace of God, Vickey had enough clarity to know her attacker could be out looking for her so she was as quite as possible.  She even had the thought to avoid knocking on doors and instead, chose homes with doorbells she could ring. 

After attempts at three different homes, a light came on in the next one she tried and a husband and wife came to the door.  Vickey, beaten, bloody, and partially naked, quickly explained her situation saying she desperately needed a place for herself and her dog to hide while they call the authorities. 

Thankfully, they let her in! We cannot put into words how grateful Vickey and all the rest of us are for the kindness and compassion of this couple.  They played a huge part in saving her life that horrible night and we will never be able to thank them enough.

Once Vickey was safe inside their home, the woman covered her up and took her to a safe place out of sight of the door and windows while her husband called 911.  Vickey was able to provide her contact information and the location of her attacker, then again lost consciousness from her injuries.

Vickey was transported to the local hospital where she was found to have multiple, severe wounds that they did not have the expertise to treat.  So, they stabilized her, then transferred her to a trauma center in North Carolina where she spent 5 days in the ICU.  As her condition further stabilized, she was transferred to trauma stepdown care where she spent an additional 6 days recovering from her neck fusion, gunshot wounds, missing eye, and other injuries.

Vickey and her family are very grateful for the life-saving care and kindness of the incredible staff at her local hospital and at the trauma center.  Without you she likely wouldn’t be with us anymore.

Her Attacker

Her attacker, was taken into custody and charged with attempted murder.  He is currently in jail on a $1,000,000 bond awaiting trial. Because this is a pending case, we are limited with what we can share so that we don’t compromise the trial.  We will keep this page updated though with new information as it becomes available.

Today

As of this writing, Vickey is struggling to make sense of all that has happened to her.  She is out of the hospital, and very grateful to be alive.  That said, she has a long and arduous road ahead of her. 

•       Her broken neck is still healing, and it will likely cause her pain and other complications throughout her life. 

•       One of the bullets remains lodged in her brain where it will have to be broken down by her body, potentially causing lead poisoning, because its location makes it essentially impossible for the doctors to remove.

•       She is suffering from a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) that will require extensive rehabilitation and care throughout her life. 

•       She will need at least two prosthetic eyes and many more reconstructive surgeries in order to attempt to repair the damage from the gunshot wound.  Unfortunately, this part of her treatment was not possible at the trauma hospital.  Instead, it was to be done on an outpatient basis after she was released.  When she went for her appointment recently, because she is uninsured and has no money to pay out of pocket, the doctor wouldn’t treat her.  She is currently watching her eye deteriorate at a rapid pace and faces a potentially long wait for starting the expensive process of obtaining a prosthetic eye.

•       She will need intense therapeutic support to help her recover from these traumatic events.  After the incident she was so anxious she hardly even responded to the anesthesia she was given for her neck surgeries.  Currently, her anxiety is so high she is unable to sleep for any length of time, if at all, and she finds only minimal relief from the pain medication she’s been prescribed. 

•       She can’t return to her home due to the trauma of the attack.  She is recovering in an undisclosed location at the moment and is unsure where she will go from here.

•       As with many victims of domestic violence, Vickey was dependent on her partner’s financial household contributions.  In addition, she is currently unable to work due to her medical condition; and we are unsure when or even if she will be able to work in the future.  As a result, she will need a great deal of support to rebuild her life.

Although we are able to help and care for Vickey in many ways, our family is not financially able to provide the money for her eye surgeries and other necessities which saddens and worries us a great deal.  Along these lines, we have been able to help her complete the long process of applying for SSDI and Medicare/Medicaid.  However, it can be up to 9 months or longer to receive their decision; and of course there’s no guarantee she’ll be approved for aid.  This is where we are asking for your love and support in giving to Vickey.

Our Goal

We thought we could also try and help Vickey get through this awful ordeal by creating a GoFundMe page to help raise some of the money she needs so she can begin her recovery.  Our goal at this time is to raise at least $150,000.  This amount is a tall order that will only begin to help her regain her footing.  Yet, at the same time, we believe that the love and compassion of all of us working together can create a much needed miracle for Vickey in this time of great need. 

With the funds raised Vickey would be able to:

•       Obtain treatment for her eye.  The surgery alone to prepare her for the prosthetic eye is over $65,000.  Plus, she’ll need at least $8,000 for the prosthetic eye itself; which won’t likely be permanent.  Most patients require another prosthetic eye after about a year of healing as generally, the initial transplant ends up being too large/small.  This second surgery would cost another $8,000 - $12,000.  Also, from what we understand at this point, even if Vickey is approved for Medicare/Medicaid, these are not covered services so will have to be paid for out of pocket either way.

•       Pay for rent and living expenses while she is away from home.

•       Help her obtain long term mental health support to aid in her recovery.

•       Pay the exorbitant medical bills that are piling up from her treatment.  At this point we’ve reached 1.1 million and counting. 

As a victim of domestic violence, Vickey has a long road to physical and mental recovery.  She is a gentle soul, a positive spirit, and always there to help.  Violence is not “her thing” at all.  She has been shaken to her core and unsure of her future.  However, if we can come together, hold her in our thoughts and prayers, raise some money, and ease just a bit of her burden, her path to healing will be lit with love and kindness instead of sadness and fear.

Thank You!

We are so grateful to you for reading Vickey’s story.  Whether you can say a prayer for her, send her thoughts filled with love and light, forward her story to another, or make a donation toward her long term recovery Vickey, along with all the rest of us who love and care for her, thank you greatly for your loving care and support.

With much Love and Gratitude –

Vickey and her family, joey blue, Karla Demers, Maria Edwards, Jason Hall, PJ Edwards, Star Iarussi, Mike Masseria, Kay McMillan, Amber Johnson and Josh Saunders, Becky Rivera, Lisa Dillon Amato, Stephanie Griffaw, Melissa Hylton and her many loving friends
  • joe tulos 
    • $5 
    • 44 mos
  • Jennifer DeGrane 
    • $25 
    • 45 mos
  • Carrie Field 
    • $40 
    • 50 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • $50 
    • 62 mos
  • Joyner Ja 
    • $250 
    • 63 mos
See all

Organizer

Fiona Arbor 
Organizer
Pinehurst, NC
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