Ayla's ACL Surgery

It's 11:30am in Breckenridge, Co and I am standing on top of Peak 6 with a 360 degree view of the mountainous landscape. A short but strenuous hike got me here while I awkwardly gripped and balanced skis and poles over my shoulders. Breathing in the 12,500 foot air I gaze out to the jagged white horizon. Now its time to figure out how to get down the mountain. Stomping my heavy boots into my skis I ride along a small ridge and pause to look down into the widest, longest, steepest snowy bowl I have ever seen.

Before I take my turn into the bowl, I encourage my sister, telling her she is a strong capable skier and that she's got this. I watch my sister and her boyfriend cautiously ride into the bowl. They stop midway down and turn to look up at me. I take another deep breathe and slide unwittingly into chunky wet thick snow.

30 feet into the bowl, I attempt to make my first turn and realize the back of my skis are jammed in the snow, but my body is already in motion and ready to make the turn. My skis are completely immobilized and I can't stop my upper body from twisting sharply to the right. I fall and immediately I know that something awful in my right knee has happened. 

I leave Breckenridge, Co in a leg brace and crutches. (But I got to ride in a wheelchair and skip all the airport lines on my flight home!)

Fast forward to three weeks later. I have had three x-rays and one MRI. I am unable to walk. I am still on crutches. I am a bartender and server and I have not worked for a full month. I have a tear in my ACL and a piece of fractured bone that is preventing my knee from straightening. My injury requires ACL repair surgery.

ACL repair surgery uses grafts of my own bone and tissue to fix the damage in my knee. I need to have this surgery ASAP so I can start physical therapy, walk again, and go back to work. After surgery my recovery time is estimated to be two months, this means I can go back to my active lifestyle and my bartending job in a little over two months. I do not yet have a surgery date set, but it should be early April.

I am asking for your help. My MRI alone was $780 dollars. I have applied for financial aid and I am waiting for my application to be reviewed by VCU Health. I currently have no income since I cannot walk.

I am grateful for my wonderful support system; my family, sister, boyfriend, friends, boss, fellow servers and bartenders, and Stella's regulars. THANK YOU!

Donations (43)

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  • Joan Gilrain
    • $100 
    • 4 yrs
  • Heidi &the gals Flanagan
    • $250 
    • 4 yrs
  • Elizabeth Johnston
    • $1,400 
    • 4 yrs
  • Bill and Marti McKechnie
    • $50 
    • 4 yrs
    • $50 
    • 4 yrs
See all


Ayla Palermo
Richmond, VA

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