To everyone taking a few moments to read this, allow me a few minutes of your time to tell you a story about Jennifer Roland. Jennifer is a firefighter paramedic with 20 years of dedicated service, she suffered a devastating incident on February 4th that has left her progressively paralyzed from the waist down. She cannot walk and will require extensive rehabilitation and physical therapy. She needs your help! Please, donate and help this amazing, kind-hearted, and generous first responder walk again!
Who is Jennifer Roland?
Jennifer, who often goes by Jenn, has dedicated her entire life to helping others and giving back to her community. She was born in Illinois, then her family moved to DeLand in 1984, and this is where she was raised and fell for the charm that DeLand emanates. Jenn loved this small town so much that she bought her home in DeLand 17 years ago and proudly supports the small businesses and events this amazing, quaint town offers.
Jenn started as a volunteer with Lake County Fire Rescue (LCFR) in 1998, working on the front line for nothing more than the personal gratification that helping others in their time of need brought her. She then pursued the opportunity to further her training, becoming a paid firefighter with LCFR in 2001, thriving in the ability to help others even more. Being a firefighter means sacrificing holidays, special events, and countless hours with family and loved ones to be there for strangers in their times of need; Jenn prides herself on always treating them as if they were her very own family.
On September 4th of this year (2021), she will reach her twentieth year of dedicated service to the public as a firefighter. In her career, she has undoubtedly touched and impacted countless people's lives through her bravery, generosity, and compassion:
· She has worked with the children of multiple communities through the departments' "Fire Safety House" program to teach children about fire safety and what to do if there is a fire.
· She was a member of LCFR's bike team, where she would provide emergency medical care to patrons during special events until an ambulance could arrive.
· She has served on the hiring board for LCFR to help assess and bring the best possible candidates onto the department to serve the citizens better.
· Jenn then felt the calling to serve even further when, six years ago, she enrolled in paramedic school to deepen her knowledge and gain more skills to provide advanced life support to those who call for help.
Jenn has devoted herself to helping others, not only through the fire service but also as a personal trainer; Working to help others find and meet their fitness goals, improving their overall life quality.
She trains at the Volusia Flagler YMCA in Deland, where she works with clients of any age and at any point in their fitness or recovery journey. She also holds multiple rehabilitative training specialties that she utilizes to give people the best quality of life possible after injuries or whatever life has thrown at them.
She also trains at Dynoclimb (DeLand's first indoor rock climbing gym), offering one on one personal training as well as group "Focused Fitness" classes on Wednesday evenings.
She began an initiative to certify as many local businesses in downtown Deland as possible in CPR, AED, and First Aid training. She reached out to the Mainstreet Deland Association who supported her initiative. She has already trained multiple local downtown businesses to be better equipped to serve their community and make it an even safer place.
Then it happened. A day that no one thinks will ever happen to them hit her out of nowhere….
After coming home from a forty-eight-hour shift at the fire department on February 4th, she was preparing for her day of personal training with clients when she felt a "pop" in her right hip followed by sudden severe pain, which caused her not to be able to bear weight on her right leg. She could never have imagined this would be the beginning of an event that could change her life forever…
She was seen in the ER the morning of February 4th; The following morning, February 5th, Jenn awoke in the hospital to find she had lost the use of her entire right leg from the hip down and was suddenly having incontinence issues as well.
A turn for the worse:
After almost two weeks in the hospital, she became paralyzed from the waist down (this would include losing the ability to control her bladder/bowels).
However, the pain was still excruciating throughout both legs, with her describing it as; "two boa constrictors squeezing both legs, while they are being crushed between two steel plates". Jenn went on to describe the pain in her hips and lumbar area as: "Being crushed under a house, while five cranes with grappling hooks ripped her pelvis apart."
Who am I?
Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Shane Helton. I am a Lieutenant/EMT with Lake County Fire Rescue and have been a firefighter for seven years. On my first day, I walked into my assigned station as a probationary firefighter; I introduced myself to the crew I would be working with and who would train me. Little did I know that this would be the moment that would change my life forever. Jennifer was to be my partner on the engine, and over the following months, she would teach me how to be a firefighter. She went above and beyond every shift to train and guide me, and if it were not for her, I would not be where I am now. For everything she did for me and how much she impacted my life, I started this fundraiser to help in her time of need!
Why did I create this for Jenn?
As of 4/2/21, she has been admitted into hospitals for 58 days (and counting). She has been transferred to and evaluated at four different facilities, including being evaluated by Shands UF research hospital in Gainesville, leaving with no definitive diagnosis because they too found her to be an "interesting case." With this being such a "mystery," doctors are unable to give her any prognosis as to the outcome of this, if this will get any worse or better, if this will ever happen again (if she fully recovers), any kind of solid recovery timeframe, or honestly if she will ever be able to walk again. Therefore, I am starting this recovery campaign fund for her, because as you would imagine, her life has drastically changed, and she may never be able to return to her career again.
What your donations will help with:
If you have read this amazing woman's story- Thank You! If you feel compelled to help, please donate and know any amount at all is so greatly appreciated and will help immensely! So, I am asking if you could, please donate anything you can to help alleviate at least a little weight from Jenn and her family's shoulders and minds.
As you may have already gathered, she is facing hospital bills that will continue to grow exponentially with every day she is there, as well as:
· Costs for medications not covered by her insurance
· Doctors' co-pays
· Unforeseen medical expenses in the way of further, more specialized medications or treatments
· Specialized medical equipment
· Further transport expenses.
· She must soon begin paying her insurance and benefit premiums out of pocket, as she'll soon exhaust all of her vacation/sick leave.
(100% of all donations will go to Jenn)
If you are not able to donate any money, that is entirely understandable, just sharing this page, and her story forward will help!
Will you please join me on this journey to help get Jenn back on her feet and back to doing what she loves: helping others!
I will post any and all updates and information on Jenn as often as physically possible! Again, I thank each and every one of you for taking the time to read Jenn's story and getting to know a little more about this beautiful and amazing woman that is such a dear friend of mine.
To quote one of her favorite Bible verses:
Philippians 4:13 "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me"
- Maritza Longtin
- Charles Ayers
- Terry Workman
- Michael Burkard Jr
Fundraising team (3)
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