Shortly after her 18th birthday, Abigail's world collided with a tragedy she never saw coming. While driving along a road she has known all her life, Abigail faced a devastating head-on collision at a combined speed of 110 mph—something no one could have anticipated.
Abigail is an extremely safe driver, and she truly loved her Lincoln LS, named "JFK" (because "Abraham" was too obvious). Despite being careful, her 3 months of driving experience was not enough to prepare her for the suicidal impact that she experienced. I'm not sure if 30 years of experience would have prepared her.
There is no way anyone should have survived that impact. I know if it were me, they'd have to scoop me out into jello containers. But the brave men and women of Grantsboro Station 11, Triangle Station 17, Arapahoe Station 15, and Pamlico County EMS, as well as the Sheriff's department and the State Police would not give up on Abigail. I could not have been more relieved—sorry, Abigail—than when I heard that 18-year-old screaming in pain while she was being rescued, because screaming means "alive".
We want to express our heartfelt gratitude to the brave men and women of Station 11, Station 17, Station 15, Pamlico County EMS, the Sheriff's department, and the State Police for their nonstop efforts.
It took a little over an hour for EMS and the station teams to cut Abigail free from the car. She was—I'm not even sure how this makes sense or is physically possible—completely wrapped by the car, like the lettuce in a steel-toothed taco, under the steering wheel and dashboard. The rescue teams, using the jaws of life, had to almost completely disassemble the car. The teams had to cut out the entire bottom of the vehicle to get her out.
Some of the EMS workers remarked that in over 20 years of service, they had never seen an accident like it, nor had they needed to perform that rescue maneuver before. I have never seen anyone work so hard or move so fast, but somehow they were able to free her. East Care moved quickly and air-lifted her to ECU Health hospital in time to receive life-saving trauma care.
After they got her onto the helicopter, I was already mentally preparing for how to help Abigail adjust to life without legs. Because surely it's not possible for a human being to get put into a trash compactor, and folded into a space designed for a gas pedal, and come out with legs. I wasn't sure that she would have a face. I wasn't even sure if she would be alive.
Abigail's injuries include three broken bones in her left arm, a broken femur, three broken ribs, a chipped kneecap, a broken pelvis in three places, lacerations to her spleen, kidney, and adrenal gland, and a tear in her aorta – the main artery of her body.
And somehow—you might have to sit down for this one—not a single one of her birthday nails were broken.
Abigail regained her senses shortly after her mother got to the hospital. "Mom," she says. "Do you know where my phone is—wait, where's my Chinese food!?"
As I write this, Abigail is in her second round of surgery, with top orthopedic surgeons knitting her bones back together. During the times where she is awake, she is happily unaware of the incredible miracle it is that she is alive and focused on important teenage problems like how she is going to be able to perform in her role as Lucy in the High School's production of Charlie Brown Christmas or sing in the high school choir, and how annoying this is going to be on her social life.
Make no mistake—despite her positive and invincible attitude, she is still in 24/7 intensive care, battling for her life, carefully monitored by the amazing ECU trauma team. She requires regular blood transfusions to keep her alive until her internal organs and aorta stitch themselves back together—hopefully without requiring surgical intervention.
While medicine has come a long way from when I was younger, and Abigail is young and healthy—a broken pelvis is still a broken pelvis (sorry Abigail), and the road to recovery will be long and difficult, both for Abigail and her mother, Kalie—who is by her side day and night. The recovery will require three or more months of 24/7 bed rest with nursing support. I think you can imagine that will not be easy for a mom or a teenage girl.
But after that recovery period: Abigail, somehow, amazingly, inexplicably, unbelievably, miraculously has a chance at living a normal teenage life again and most certainly planning to walk across the stage to earn her high school diploma in May. But the next few days, weeks, and months are critical.
Kalie and Abigail both need our support.
North Carolina's non-sobrogation policy means that Abigail's insurance may need to be paid back from any settlement, leaving Abigail with enormous medical bills. Kalie, while tending to Abigail's needs, faces the daunting task of managing bills and ensuring that Abigail has everything she needs for her recovery.
Abigail faces a lengthy and challenging recovery process, including months of 24/7 bed rest with nursing support. This places a significant emotional and financial burden on Abigail and her mother, Kalie, who remains by her side.
Despite the odds, Abigail maintains a positive and invincible attitude, focusing on her dreams and aspirations of college and culinary studies. Let's keep it that way.
This is where you can make a life-changing difference. Abigail and Kalie need our support now more than ever. Every donation, no matter how small, brings us closer to helping Abigail regain her life.
Please consider making a donation today to help Abigail and Kalie on their journey to recovery. Every dollar counts and brings us one step closer to giving Abigail the chance to stand on her own two feet again. A single cup of overpriced hospital coffee can be the difference between a confident morning and a complete crushing loss of morale.
Even the smallest contributions have a tremendous impact, and we are immensely grateful for your support. Your generosity helps Abigail on her path to recovery.
$5,055 is just barely enough to cover 1 month of living expenses for Abigail and Kalie during this initial critical period. Every dollar donated will be directly spent on making sure that Kalie is able to continue caring for Abigail, not including extended medical care. But it will be enough to allow Kalie to focus on care, coordinate remote education and recovery efforts without facing a crushing financial burden.
Please visit this page regularly for more updates on Abigail's condition on her road to recovery.
Thank you for your support and for being a part of this incredible success story—a community coming together to rebuild a life and a future.
Update: Sunday November 12th, 6:38 pm EST 2023
Abigail is back in the ICU recovering from her second surgery, and she has a new bionic arm!
Update: Monday November 13th, 10:13am EST 2023
Thank you video from Kalie and Abigail from ECU hospital