Rachel Whitcher

Dear friends (those we know and those we have yet to meet.)

On February 12th, 59-year-old Rachel Whitcher slipped on the ice outside her small hair salon in Hot Springs, SD. We all know how that feels—the moment when you step just a bit wrong and the next instant you are on the ground, assessing the damage.

Usually we are right back on our feet again, bruised, a bit embarrassed.

Rachel knew immediately that she was in serious trouble. She felt bones snap and heard things popping like rubber bands in her knee. It was cold, and early in the morning; there was no traffic on the quiet streets and even if a car came by, they likely would not have seen her.

Luckily, she had her phone and was able to call 911 for help.

Soon Rachel was in an ambulance on her way to Rapid City, where she learned that she had broken her fibia and tibia—the doctor said she broke it “as bad as a person could.” She has a plate and lots of screws and staples and a 14-inch incision—no ‘half-way’ for our Rachel. She does not yet know if her knee is also damaged.

After surgery, she is home—and grateful now that she lives in a modest mobile home, with just one level—both welcome features when you are getting around by hopping on one leg while leaning on a walker.

Rachel will not be able to put weight on her broken leg for several weeks. Every step is an effort and she does not yet know what the affects will be on her back and shoulders after weeks of hopping; already her wrists are starting to hurt.

It will be at least three months before Rachel can work and probably several more before she will be back to full time.

Rachel is a hair stylist. More than 20 years ago she became a divorced mom and soon God led her to Hot Springs, where Jean De Heer, owner of the Hair Care Center, was looking for someone to take over her one-woman salon after she had contracted a rare lung disease. This contact was an answer to Rachel's prayers, for it gave her the opportunity to home-school her boys. She knew that without an involved father they would need most of her time and energy.

Her sons are young men now, both Marines; Tyrell has served over thirteen years and is recently back on U.S. soil after a lengthy deployment in the Pacific. James, who already served five years in the Navy, is now in the Marine Reserves while finishing up his physical therapy degree in Vermillion, South Dakota. Until the accident, Rachel had been spending many of her weekends driving to Vermillion to help care for her grandson while James studied.

Once the boys left home for the military, Rachel extended her work hours, but kept the flexibility of her one-woman salon so that she could fly to James and Tyrell’s graduations, promotions and deployments.

Through the years Rachel has built up a steady business by providing quality service and truly caring for and about her customers.  When she cuts our hair, she listens to our troubles with empathy and she keeps our secrets—our well-being matters to her. She works long hours and still has trouble making time for all her regulars.

Now she is unable to work at all until her leg heals.

Rachel knew some time ago that she needed to look for long term disability and medical insurance. She had tried recently to purchase private health insurance but was told she had missed the enrollment period and would have to wait until October. She does not make enough money to qualify for Obamacare.

When this accident happened Rachel was, like so many other Americans, unprepared. She knows she should have dealt with this a long time ago, but her options were strikingly limited and she was, like most of us, busy just getting through the day, being available for her sons and grandchildren, making a modest living.

Rachel did not ask for help from you and me. We went to her to ask permission to create this fund. She is deeply touched by the love shown by those of you who have already reached out to her, bringing her food, driving her to medical appointments, even staying overnight with her; she is not yet comfortable being alone. She is humbled by and grateful to those who are helping her every day to get through this, one hour at a time.

Rachel trusts in God and knows that the support and love she has received already is a gift from Him; she is deeply grateful for the angels and servants He has sent to lift her up in this difficult time. She feels truly blessed and humbled.

Rachel needs us: our hands, hearts, prayers and yes, our cash. She needs about $2055.00 per month just to pay the essential bills until she is back at work. This includes the bare minimum rent and utilities to keep the salon ready so that she can get back to work as soon as the doctor releases her. She does not want to be dependent and is determined to be working again as soon as medically possible.

We expect it will be about three months before Rachel is back to work part time, and longer before she can be at full speed. If that averages out to four months of lost fulltime work, she will need a minimum of $8,220 to get through this time.

This is only what she needs to survive and keep her business afloat.

Will you help? Every dollar will be a blessing, so please give whatever you feel moved to share to help Rachel through this very challenging time.


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Organizer and beneficiary

Dusty Pence 
Hot Springs, SD
Rachel Whitcher 
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