Living Expenses While Recovering

Natalie McDonald (my best friend's mother) sustained a traumatic brain injury from a terrible car accident in mid-September. She was the Vocal Music director at Dallas Center-Grimes High School in Iowa, and was on her way to a musical rehearsal after meeting her husband and 16 year old son for dinner, when she was hit by a large truck who ran a stop sign.  She miraculously survived the first hours, then days, then weeks, and is now at a brain rehabilitation facility, On With Life, in Ankeny. 

My friend Alanna moved back to Iowa from her home in New York City temporarily and is driving to On With Life everyday from the family home in Waukee to help her mom recover.  Alanna's presence at On With Life is extremely important for Natalie, as Natalie is becoming increasingly more aware of her surroundings, but cannot communicate her needs or standup/walk without assistance.  When not in therapy at On With Life, Natalie would otherwise be sitting alone in her room for hours a day, which no doubt hinders her recovery.  The constant attention and continual work that Alanna provides is crucial to Natalie's ongoing recovery in these early stages.  Alanna reads, sings and watches movies with her, works on her verbal skills, takes her to the bathroom, gives her water and helps communicate her preferences to the therapists. 

Alanna works as a freelance set dresser for film and television, but because her presence is needed in Iowa now, she has been unable to work as she would normally.  Alanna is needing assistance paying her basic bills and apartment rent so that she can ideally stay with her mom in Iowa until May (when her brother has his summer break from college and can take over). Alanna will also be integral in helping her mom adjust to being home during the day when Natalie leaves On With Life in a couple months to continue her recovery in the family home. Natalie is only 51 years old, and the mother of four children, the youngest of which is only a junior in high school. Getting Natalie home is very important to her family, and this recovery period will largely dictate her future abilities.

Natalie's other daughter, Ali, works as a teacher in Kansas City.  Her son, Nate, attends college in Missouri.  Natalie's husband, Marty, had to return to work as a music teacher at Waukee High School in order to continue receiving some income for the quickly growing family bills, and to maintain a health insurance plan for the family.  Alanna is the only family member with the ability to take time off work to be with Natalie while she recovers, but it is not without consequence, as Alanna is receiving zero income while she is not working.

Please help make it financially possible for Alanna to continue working with her mom, as it has been tremendously beneficial for Natalie's improvement.  This family is the best family I know, every single one of them.   Natalie was simply taking a break from musical rehearsal to meet her husband and teenage son for dinner before returning to rehearsal, and a man did not stop at a stop sign - changing this family forever.  Anything you can contribute would mean the world.  Natalie has come unexpectedly far in her recovery, and that is largely in part to Alanna's ability to work with her mom 24/7 in addition to the work the therapists are providing at On With Life.  Please consider donating to allow Alanna to continue taking time off work to help with her mom's recovery.


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Natalie Anderson 
West Des Moines, IA
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