Hope 4 HighSchool Times Sq Victim
Out of the seven students from Dunellen visiting New York, two were injured. Destiny was hit by the speeding car and thrown into the air. She broke her tibia in her left leg and has received a titanium rod and screws to support her leg and a muscle fracture in her right foot
The incident was one day away from the senior picnic, two weeks until prom, and roughly a month until the Dunellen graduation. Dunellen seniors are about to start a new life and new journey, but this wonderful time has been wiped away from Destiny and her good friend Jessica, also injured during the incident.
Destiny has gone through her surgery. but is still in an immense amount of pain/drowsiness and she is being given a lot of medication. It's going to take a while for her to get her leg and herself back to normal. She is one of the most loving, caring and selfless people I know and that is why I am asking for your help. I am devastated that this terrible thing happened to her and to others. I am asking for any type of help and support for Destiny and her family to help pay for appointments/medical bills during her recovery.
Destiny's friends and family are hoping that caring people will make a donation and if people cannot help with bills, they will share this GoFundMe page, pray. and support Destiny. Keep prayers and hope for her and ALL of victims of this horrific event. Thank you.
In May of 2017, I had the great privilege of experiencing that quote in action. It certainly wasn't the first time in my life, and I'm confident it won't be the last because people as a whole are just plain good at heart. But it took on an acutely personal meaning when my daughter Destiny was seriously injured on May 18th during the events that transpired in Times Square NY.
During the next few months, Destiny, her sister Jordan and I were the recipients of incredible ACTS OF KINDNESS, both practical and spiritual. Countless meals were arranged and delivered to us for weeks at a time, people came out of the woodwork to offer transportation, protective measures for our personal privacy, shoulders to cry AND rant on, prayers for healing and monetary donations. The employees at my workplace, VIP Honda in North Plainfield and sister store, Bridgewater Acura, took up collections and surrounded us with care and concern. My Owner, William P. Vince, gave me all the personal time I needed to devote to my daughters' recovery. I have worked there for almost 33 years and am incredibly fortunate for that.
The other young men and women who were with Destiny and experienced such violence and upheaval and death that day, should be publically commended for their collective rising to the occasion. I am humbled still when I look back on their friendship to each other that day and how they responded.
I would especially like to thank Brenda Green, a friend I never knew I had! Brenda is responsible for organizing SO MUCH in the first days and weeks that benefited my family and I can't lavish enough praise on her AND her generous family. She was...just a plain old good human being that took charge and greatly assisted a fellow parent experiencing almost the worst news a mother or father could get. What makes it all the more remarkable is that Nicole Green, Destiny's friend, was ALSO one of the students in Times Square that day and stayed with her on the scene, the initial ambulance ride to Bellvue Hospital and was directly responsible for the NY Police Dept being able to reach me. Brenda AND Nicole's service to MY family during that time was pretty amazing!
An individual that also deserves a thank you SHOUT OUT is Valerie Panzarella, Dunellen High School Admin Secretary. Her kindness and attention and caring for us was genuinely felt and appreciated. DHS is lucky to have her!
Randi Axelrod, Guidance counselor at DHS, true to her profession and personality, kept in touch with Destiny, asking after her condition and sending cards for months. She shared with me a bittersweet fact that first week; Destiny had already been selected as one of the recipients of the Rotary Club scholarship awards that year. A wonderful accomplishment in the midst of such horror, and one she had earned on her own before that day. Wow!
Having made some of our "special thank yous", the purpose of this email is to update the GoFund Me site on Destiny's condition in the 15 months since. There have been ups and downs in her physical and emotional healing, a common enough outcome following traumatic events. While initial healing regarding her severely broken leg has gone very well, there have been some setbacks with her ankle since the Spring. After wearing an orthopedic boot this summer to deal with pain in walking, she is once again out of that and continues her weekly physical therapy to strengthen her leg. Destiny deals with other residual problems from being hit by a speeding vehicle, including frequent, painful headaches and ongoing vertigo and nausea. We have spent the better part of this year trying to find effective solutions for that with mixed results. Unfortunately, some of the more known and proven medications that might be helpful are contra-indicated for the genetic cardiac arrhythmia she already has. However, she continues to move forward in the hope of feeling...better.
Destiny had been accepted to Middlesex County College in September 2017 but was unable to attend. However, since January 2018, she has been enrolled in and completed online course studies at the college. She will continue with that next month and she looks forward to being able soon to attend on campus in the future.
I also wish to extend apologies to ANYONE that feels we may have neglected them this past year. Something we learned, and continue to learn, is that serious injury to a loved one is a very straight forward, blinders on endeavor. While still navigating ALL the regular "flotsam and jetsam" of life, healing and moving on becomes a most singular activity, allowing almost no time for anything or anybody else. The sheer exhaustion of putting one step in front of the other, literally and figuratively, is all consuming. I'm not saying that's a good thing. I'm saying that it is just an uncomfortable fact. At least, that has been MY experience.
There are literally dozens and dozens of individuals that we would like to thank in a more concrete and demonstrative way! That includes family and friends we were already blessed with, complete strangers, teachers and other admin from DHS, The Dunellen Rotary Club, The Dunellen Fire Department, doctors and medical professionals that contributed to Destiny's recovery, etc.
The GoFundMe page that I'm updating would never have come about without the kind and quick thinking actions of Destiny's DHS friend, Micaellah Acosta! With tears in my eyes, as a mother and a grandmother, we will be forever indebted to you for this great gift. This money, 15 months later, comes at the most opportune time as Destiny goes forward with continued medical needs. Knowing it was available was a great comfort and we will put it to good use in her recovery.
Lastly...I want to thank my daughter Destiny for showing what courage under fire means! Experiencing an horrific event that changed her life in the blink of an eye, enduring great physical and emotional pain along the way, and continuing to try and manage the life she has NOW with all the hits and misses that healing entails...I not only love you to the moon and back...I stand and salute you!
Whether we were aware of it or not at the time, my family has been witness to the concrete actions of Marcus Aurelius' simple but powerful words!
Jenny Kaltenbach and Destiny and Jordan Lightfoot
Destiny has been home for about a month now fighting away the pain and trying to get back on her feet literally and figuratively. Destiny was able and well enough to go to her high school prom and graduation. It wasn't what she pictured a couples months ago but her family and friends made it an experience she wouldn't forget. It took a lot of power and courage for her to do so but we are all so proud that she did. She has been doing better with her PT and her and her family are gradually trying to get used to and deal with this situation.
Although she is doing better Destiny and her family still have a lot of ongoing medical expenses not being covered by their insurance. Destiny was born with a heart condition but not diagnosed with it until she was 7 called heart arrhythmia, CPVT. This incident has caused emotional stress to her and her family and they can use all the help to contribute to Destinys recovery. They have doctors appointments and medications needed and now with what happened has more expenses being added [physical therapy costs, medications and doctors appointments.]
Now I encourage you guys to realize that this incident has happened and is still effecting these victims lives and hasn't gone away. So please help and thank you to all who has supported, donated and prayed !
Micaellah, Proud of you for stepping up! Destiny, Wishing that you feel much better soon!
Micaellah thank you so much for this! Love to you