Winnie Yang's Recovery Fund

On March 1, 2017-- what was supposed to be just another routine day at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University-- Winnie Yang’s life changed forever.

As she was crossing Clark Street on her way home from class, Winnie was struck by a turning car. Unconscious, she was rushed to Evanston Hospital where doctors identified over 10 cranial fractures. They measured the severity of her comatose state as 3-4 on the 15-point Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS), and at one point were not positive on her ever regaining consciousness.

Winnie bravely underwent 4 craniotomies and 3 assisted surgeries, fighting through and waking up from her coma on May 4, 2017.

The accident resulted in devastating injuries to her brain, causing her to lose her language capabilities and control over the right side of her body.

But what adversity was not able to take was her hope, her grit and her courage.

She began rehab immediately. She had to learn to sit and walk again through physical therapy. She slowly regained her memory. She initially could only speak her native dialect 2 months post-coma, then slowly learned to speak mandarin again. She re-learned English. Slowly, but surely, she learned to use her left hand to write. When she couldn’t remember simple words, she just kept writing, writing and writing…

Winnie’s progress has been miraculously encouraging, but she still has a long way to go before being able to be function independently. Seemingly routine tasks, such as dressing herself, are a struggle because of her paralyzed right side. Her parents left their jobs in China and flew 16 hours around the world to take care of their only child. They have depleted their savings over the last year and are now at a crossroads.

As we come together as a Kellogg family, we remember our conversations with Winnie. She spoke of her beginnings growing up in China, her journeys living and working in Hong Kong and her dreams after attending Kellogg. Winnie's tragic experience hits especially close to home - it could have been any one of us crossing Clark Street that day after class.


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Winnie at KWEST (Kellogg Worldwide Experiences & Service Trips), August 2016

We need your help to support Winnie’s medical expenses in the next year so that her dreams post-Kellogg is a detour and not a dead end.

Our campaign goal is $100,000. This will be used in the following ways:
- Return tickets to China for the family (estimated at $5,000)
- Rehab treatments in China from July to September 2018 (estimated at $15,000)
- Rehab treatments in MacLehose Medical Rehabilitation Center from October 2018 to August 2019 (estimated at $80,000)

Thank you for reading Winnie’s story. We appreciate any help or contribution, no matter how big or small! If possible, please share our campaign link on social media (Facebook, Instagram, etc.) and with your friends. We will keep you posted on the use of funds and her progress going forward.  Any questions, please contact helpwinnieyang@hotmail.com.

Lastly, we will end with Winnie’s favourite essay, which she took an hour to copy with her left hand: Hope.

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Message from Winnie's Parents:

Message from Winnie:


FAQ:

Who are we and where are we from?
This campaign is led by JJ Luo, Li Qiao, Taylor Chen and Michelle Guo, with the help of a group of Winnie's friends at Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University. We are raising the fund on behalf of Winnie and her family.

Why is fundraising for Winnie necessary now?

Winnie’s medical expenses were covered mostly by her student health insurance (with copay) from March, 2017 until now. However, Winnie’s health insurance will end as we graduate this summer, 2018.

Her current conditions still require rigorous therapies. She’s unable to complete simple everyday tasks due to the paralysis of her right side. Her energy level tends to run low. Her languages capabilities are improving but still not fluent to communicate effectively in daily life.

She and her family were initially hopeful about the legal claims. Unfortunately, she will only receive approximately $60,000 from the accident lawsuit (total amount to be determined in the next 1-2 months). She has no health insurance in China.

Over the past 16 months, her parents have exhausted their savings and had to borrow money from friends and family to take care of Winnie in the U.S.. Because Winnie requires full-time care, her parents are unable to work and have no income. Her parents are also having health issues. Very recently, her mom had to take out a loan to undergo an emergent gallstone surgery because she had no health insurance in US.

Why does Winnie have to leave the U.S.?
Winnie’s student visa status, and health insurance in the U.S. will end this summer. While she’d like to continue to rehab in the U.S., she has to return to China at the end of June.

How has Winnie progressed since she got out of her coma?
When first waking up from her coma, Winnie recognized no one. She was unable to balance herself sitting up, or speak.

She slowly regained her memory. She initially could only speak her native dialect 2 months post-coma, then slowly learned to speak mandarin again. She also re-learnt English.

She had to learn to sit and walk again through physical therapy. Now, she can walk with crutches and use her left hand to write and type.

Her cognitive progress is promising too. For example, she improved from doing only 1 GMAT question per hour to completing 10 questions per hour in merely a few months.

Prior to April 2018, she rehab 5 times a week. Since this May, it was cut to 3 times due to her encouraging progress.

What is Winnie’s current condition and daily schedules?
After one full year of rehab, Winnie has exceeded her doctor’s expectations. She can now walk with a crutch, use her left hand to write and comprehend course materials. She even audited two classes at Kellogg during the spring of 2018.

She goes to the rehab center three times a week. Each session is 3 hours, practising speaking, walking and control of her right hand. Every day, she repeats the efforts at home. In addition, she practises writing, reading and critical thinking analysis at home.

What is Winnie’s plan in the future one year?
Winnie plans to undergo treatments in Guizhou, China from July to September 2018, before she transfers to MacLehose Medical Rehabilitation Center in Hong Kong (recommended by her doctors) to continue rehab until August 2019.

Why does she choose to head to Hong Kong?
Winnie is a Hong Kong citizen. MacLehose Medical Rehabilitation Center in Hong Kong has been recommended by her doctors. The center will continue Winnie’s rehab with speeches, Physical Therapy (PT) and Occupational Therapy (OT). The center in particular is specialized in cognitive communication deficit, which is one of the largest barriers for Winnie to return to school.

When does she expect to recover?
While it is still unclear how long it would take for full recovery, the doctors are optimistic that Winnie can re-enroll at Kellogg in the next 1-2 years.

How supportive Kellogg is to accept her back to school?
The Kellogg School of Management has been extremely supportive with Winnie’s parents’ accommodations, and opportunity to undergo treatment in the world-renowned Shirley Ryan Abilitylab(RIC) from March, 2017 until now.

According to the school administration, as long as Winnie can finish her degree in 5 years (graduating in June 2021), Kellogg will honor her initial merit-based scholarship.

Donations ()

  • Anonymous 
    • $100 
    • 12 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • $300 
    • 16 mos
  • Karen R. Mazique 
    • $50 
    • 16 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • $15 
    • 18 mos
  • Shirley Zhang 
    • $10 
    • 18 mos
See all

Organizer and beneficiary

HelpWinnie Yang 
Organizer
Evanston, IL
Huihui Liu 
Beneficiary
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