Help Ruth Woroniecki Help Others
Hi, my name is Sarah. My younger sister, Ruth (pictured below), suffered a tragic accident on Saturday, December 24th, 2022, when she slipped and fell while hiking. She incurred facial lacerations, a severe head wound, and broke her neck in two places. She was transported by a helicopter to the trauma center and spent 5 days in the ICU, undergoing emergency neural surgery to repair her vertebrae and getting 40+ stitches and staples to close her scalp.
(Ruth Woroniecki, 40, Denver, Colorado)
I’m starting this Go FundMe page to both raise money to continue Ruth's charitable work, while she is unable to work and fund it herself, and help cover some of the medical costs. If there is anything you could contribute, it would be a phenomenal help not only to her, but to the thousands of lives she touches every year.
(Below: Local KCal CBS Coverage of the Incident)
We were here in California doing humanitarian work when she fell while hiking on Christmas Eve. We are grateful beyond words for the skilled, relentless, efforts of the San Bernadino area: chopper rescue crews, ER, Trauma Center, ICU & Neural Surgery nurses, doctors, and staff, as well as the hikers who stayed with her those initial hours after the fall. They all contributed to my sister's care and their kindness has meant the world to my family over this time. THANK YOU from the bottom of our hearts!
(Below: Ruth in the ICU before surgery)
A Little Background on Ruth
My sister is no ordinary person, she is one of the kindest, most sincere, and most loving people you will ever meet. She has dedicated her life to helping others and spends all of her time in this country, or many third-world countries, in orphanages, hospitals, on the streets, homes for the elderly, juvenile detention centers, and prisons.
(Above: Ruth doing magic in a school for underprivileged kids in Paraguay, 2018)
We travel and work in numerous situations to help those who are in need, both practically, with whatever material aid we can, and, more importantly, to bring the love of the Father in Jesus to them in a very sincere and loving manner. We are not affiliated with nor sponsored by any church or organization, but do this from our own heart and individual effort.
It's easy think about God as so distant and just out there somewhere, like a distant cloud, aloof from all we deal with in daily life and all the struggles of this world. But God came to us, here in this world, in Jesus, and faced every single thing we face. All the suffering and pain. He is not a pastor or preacher waiting for us to get "good enough" before He will hear us. On the contrary, Jesus revealed over 150 times in the gospels, that God is a Father. A compassionate Father who knows we are broken and is so good and kind, He sent Jesus down here to us. To walk in our shoes, on our earth, and suffer our pain. To rescue us, to forgive us, and to redeem us. Jesus said that in the world, we will have trouble but to take heart because He conquered the world. So, IN Him, we can find peace (Jn.16:33).
(Below: Ruth helping the homeless downtown LA, Dec.'22)
Two days prior to her accident, Ruth organized an effort to help the homeless on Skid Row. She acquired and assembled packets of blankets, hygienic essentials, food, socks, gloves, and other items. We distributed the packets to those in need and spent time, as we often do around the world, sharing the love and compassion of Jesus with them.
Above, Serving hot meals to the homeless in Brazil, 2021
Ruth works as a server, saving up her own money to use in her travels to help those in need. We interact with numerous people and organizations, both secular and religious, from all walks of life and backgrounds to bring the love, hope, and promise of the living Jesus with no strings attached to as many as we can.
(Above: at a children's hospital in Southern Brazil, 2019)
(Above: in a South American prison, 2018)
Ruth has illustrated, written, and published several children's books. Her most recent was designed and written to help children who have a loved one in prison understand and cope with the tragedy.
(Above: Ruth speaking at a large prison in the Philipines 2016)
(Above: Ruth at a center for autistic children in Santiago, Chile, 2019)
My sister's life goal, Jesus calls us all to, is to remember the “least of His brothers” and fulfill His command: “I was hungry…and you gave me something to eat…I was in prison and you came to Me… (Mt.25:35).”
(Below: Ruth speaking to inmates in Brazil, 2020)
The Tragedy This Past Christmas Eve
My sister is a marathon runner, outdoor enthusiast, and avid hiker. She loves to be in the mountains and forests, as we all do, as often as possible.
(Above: Ruth on a trail run, fall of 2021)
Working in the ghettos, slums, and prisons of third-world countries (last month we were working with immigrants in El Paso and in the prisons of Juarez, Mexico. Ruth speaks fluent Spanish.), and other places of so much need, and seeing constant tragedy and terrible suffering is a heavy burden to carry. We often go for long walks, runs, or hikes to pray, think, and fellowship with Jesus to be able to bear it all. Ruth has hiked numerous mountains, alone and with her family, from the Rockies to the White Mountains all the way to the Andes. She is extremely cautious and experienced.
(Below: Ruth hiking in Gunnison, CO 2019)
(Above: myself (left), Ruth (center), and Elizabeth (my younger sister, right) on a hike together in Canada, 2022)
While in California just outside L.A., on Christmas Eve morning, Ruth decided to hike down a trail near where we were staying. She rose early and had a backpack with supplies, hiking boots, hiking sticks, water, her phone with All Trails Maps and GPS, and a headlight. She informed us what trail she would be on and when she would be back, as well as texting us along the way. The trail starts on a gravel road, then turns into singletrack, and goes through desert and forest landscapes. Eventually, the trail led up through some snow in a forest and started to ascend. Ruth had intended to only go a short way down the trail and then turn back. But being that it was early, with warm weather, and the fact that she was making good time, she decided to see if she could go further and make it to the top.
She proceeded carefully in the snow and was able to make it to the summit with no problem. There were several other groups of hikers and the weather was clear. However, upon her descent, she slipped and slid down about 200 feet across descending switchbacks. We don't know exactly what happened (Ruth blacked out and doesn’t remember falling) but rescuers say she hit a fallen tree and had a major impact on her head (left side) that left a massive head wound. She also had whiplash and the impact caused two fractures in her vertebrae.
She woke up to other hikers around her, offering their coats and helping her keep a bandage on her head. After realizing the extent of her injuries, one of the hikers initiated a GPS Emergency beacon for help. A rescue operation was launched and she was found, and then flown to a nearby trauma center where she spent 5 nights in the ICU. She is, as we are all, deeply grateful to the other hikers and the rescue team. Our gratitude is beyond measure for what they did for her. I have no words to express how thankful I am to God that they were there, in the right place and time, to help my little sister.
When I got her text (from the helicopter) explaining what happened, I have never been so shocked and devastated as all the members of my family were and are. She is my best friend and we have been together all our lives. Needless to say, it’s been hard to stop crying. We are absolutely broken. It's hard to believe. We rushed to the hospital as soon as possible and have been at her side since, praying constantly over every aspect of her care and recovery.
Ruth required complex neural surgery to insert a screw and plate into her spine and repair the broken vertebrae to keep her from being paralyzed. At this point, it has just been the one surgery and we’re hopeful that will be enough for her to completely recover. After seeing the trauma to her neck, the doctors all said that it was absolutely incredible that she has no loss of feeling and is already able to walk for a little while every day. One doctor used the words “extremely lucky”. But we know it was an actual miracle. God hears prayer. Without a shadow of doubt, He does.
My sister asked me to quote her here: "To anyone who is hurting and suffering right now, whether a physical injury or sickness, going through a divorce, struggling with addiction, a veteran, homeless or facing incarceration. Whether you are dealing with outer scars or inner, invisible wounds, and the mental anguish of living in this lost world. You are not alone. You matter. For every unbearable pain and situation you face, there is a real solution in the living Jesus, to come to Him, to call on Him. Jesus promises to give us a place, a refuge even in the middle of our hardest trials. Read Jn.14. My hope is that sharing my story might help you as you write your story. He sure gave me a second chance at life. But to all of us, God does not only offer a second chance at life but a life of second chances. No matter what you have done or been through, in Jesus, there is compassion for everyone, everywhere, always. Thank you so much!"
The financial burden that will come about from this kind of surgery and care will be immense. And I know it stresses my sister out being unable to work and provide for those in need, as she always has. If you are in any position to be able to contribute whatever you can, we would be immeasurably grateful. We’re not asking for our own benefit. We know that God the Father will always provide for us, as He always has and always will. I only ask thinking of how this will change our lives and the work we will be able to do in the future to positively impact others.
I thank you so very, very much.
(I can be reached directly at: [email redacted]
Feel free to reach out for any reason.)
(Above, Ruth making sandwiches and wraps to hand out to the homeless and immigrants in El Paso, Texas 2022)
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Sarah Joy W.