On July 27th my cousin, Stefanie Kelting, was in an accident, where she fell from a moving vehicle and sustained traumatic brain injuries. She was taken to Lee Memorial in Fort Meyers, Florida and was rushed into surgery in an attempt to stop the bleeding. Doctors told our family to “Pray for a miracle”, as Stef’s survival was not guaranteed.
As the only girl in her family, Stef earned the nickname “Tuffy” when she proved she could not only stand up to, but could actually beat her three brothers when they’d have wrestling matches. Although small in stature, she has maintained a strong sense of determination and bravery, choosing to follow in her two older brothers’ footsteps by joining the military. Stef has proudly served in the Army for nearly 10 years. She was deployed to Iraq for 15 months during the same year her brothers served in Iraq and Afghanistan. She later helped with relief efforts in Haiti for 9 months, following a massive earthquake. She volunteers with elderly vets, and has been in the Army Reserves for the past 4 years.
Stef loves her family and friends more than anything! A native of Farmington, Minnesota, she had recently moved to Florida to be closer to her Dad and Step-mom. She wanted to assist them with caring for her younger brother Max, who has special needs. Stef had recently volunteered with the Special Olympics in support of Max.
In addition to her love and passion for helping people, she has a heart for animals, with a special interest in elephants. She has donated to elephant sanctuaries for many years and it is her dream to visit one someday! It is also her dream to get married, have a family, and to become a police officer. She had been studying to take the State Officer Certification Exam so she could continue to protect and serve our country, like her brothers, Brandon, a police officer and Jody, a firefighter. It is our hope and prayer that she will have the opportunity to pursue her dreams!
In the past two weeks since the accident, Stef has woken up from a coma, has had the ventilator removed, as well as 43 staples from her head. She has undergone 2 surgeries and is still hooked up to a feeding tube. At this point, she is still unable to: eat, swallow, sit up, walk, or speak. Stef will be transferred to the ICU at the VA hospital in Tampa, where she will remain indefinitely. Doctors estimate she will need extensive therapy over the next 2 years. She will not be able to work during this time. The medical costs are already high and continue to rise with each day of care.
Stefanie needs our help!
I am asking for your donations to help Stefanie and her family, so they may focus on her recovery, and not have to worry about the mounting medical bills. Every dollar counts and will be greatly appreciated! If you have ever wanted to thank a veteran for their service, here is an opportunity to do so!
We are so grateful for your prayers, words of encouragement, support and for helping us share Stefanie's story! Thank you in advance to anyone who wishes to donate!
- Holly Olberg
- Manuel Manrriquez
- Kiersten Clark
- Martha Milne
- Malcolm Peeples
Organizer and beneficiary
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