Sarah Kelly's Steps to Recovery

$52,369 of $500,000 goal

Raised by 294 people in 22 months
Created October 3, 2017
No Insurance - No Assets - No Income

My name is Sarah Kelly and I am 27 years old. The outpouring of love, prayer and support since my accident has been humbling and heart-warming. All the kind words, texts, cards, gifts and especially prayers have helped my family and me stay strong these past three months. Because I have worked since I was fifteen years old and cherished my independence, it is most difficult at this time to ask for your financial support, but I do need your help.

It is not my desire to leave invoices unpaid to those who saved my life and strengthened me physically. It is my desire to gain independent mobility and hopefully to walk again through extended therapy at Shepherd Center’s BEYOND THERAPY.

I had NO MEDICAL INSURANCE. Today I have NO ASSETS and am UNABLE TO WORK. Medical bills are mounting and rehabilitation for my recovery is costly. My parents are my 24-hour a day caregivers.  

The evening of June 25, 2017 I was in a single car accident on Highway 319 South, near Pebble Hill Plantation in Georgia. As a result, I sustained multiple injuries including fractures in my neck, a broken clavicle, bi-lateral rib fractures, a thoracic spinal column break T-5/T-6 and spinal cord compression, leaving me paralyzed. Thomas County Emergency Medical Service transported me to Archbold Memorial Hospital Trauma Center in Thomasville where I remained in ICU for 10 days. Surgeries included spinal fusion and open treatment of a clavicular fracture, including internal fixation.  All this and …NO HEALTH INSURANCE, NO ASSETS and, at this time, unable to work.

On Friday July 7, 2017 I was transported to Shepherd Center in Atlanta for hospitalization and rehabilitation. While a patient there, I required spinal re-stabilization surgery which was performed at Piedmont Hospital on July 19, 2017 with recovery at Shepherd ICU. Once transferred back to my room, rehabilitation therapy resumed.

After 6 ½ weeks at Shepherd Center, on August 23, 2017 I was discharged with a thoracic brace and a wheel chair. My parents have been my round-the-clock caregivers since that time. To date, I have no feeling below my waist. I am paralyzed and require assistance for all my daily care.

I have had numerous appointments with wound care, x-ray, emergency, walk-in and urological physicians within the last 5 weeks.  Pending release from my current thoracic brace on October 20, 2017 in Atlanta, and while I remain in a wheel chair, I will be admitted to the Shepherd Center Day Program for extensive rehabilitation to regain some mobility in hopes of recovering my independence.

This experience is completely humbling, and I am forever grateful to the outpouring of love, prayer and concern for my well being.

At this time, I cannot work. I require ongoing care and cannot drive. My car was a total loss. But to even drive at this point, I would require a specially fitted wheelchair accessible vehicle and training before I am legally allowed to drive.

Sarah Elizabeth Kelly Supplemental Needs Trust

A Trust Account has been set up at Farmers and Merchants Bank.  Any funds raised will be managed by trustees (not me) for the benefit of my physical and financial recovery.

I'll continue to post updates on my http://www.facebook.com/SarahKellyStepsToRecovery Facebook page as I progress.

Thank you in advance for any contribution you may make on my behalf.



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Hello! I know it's been a long time since I updated GFM supporters and I apologize for that, but I've been working hard and am super excited to share this small (yet HUGE) victory with you. I also want to let you know that without your support financially and prayerfully, I could never have made the advances necessary to move so strongly into recovery.

It's been 20 months since my accident. That first MRI revealed to the neurosurgeon that I would need a miracle to walk. Well God is good and I am strong, so here's a short video of my first volitional step. Watch that right foot closely!!!

Since that "first step" about 3 weeks ago, I've also been making those slow but steady movements forward with both feet/legs. The brain is an amazing thing to figure this out because I still have no feeling below my mid-thoracic injury level. However, I am confident that my mobility is in the making and I will again walk -- likely with prosthetic devices or implanted stimulator, but I'll take it!!

FYI, although I graduated FSU in 2012 with a Bachelor's in Hospitality Management, I returned to Florida State in the fall to pursue a degree in Retail Entrepreneurship while I continue therapy and activity based training. In May I'll be evaluated to drive and my car will be retro-fitted with hand controlled features. All this enables me to regain my independence.

I'd love to give you all the details of improvement, but most of you follow on Facebook or Instagram. Many thanks to my family, all my friends and those I don't even know for your generous support. I want you to know that you've meant so much to me.

Most Sincerely Appreciative,
Sarah Kelly
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Many of you may follow my progress via Instagram or Facebook, but I'm so excited to share my first "robotic" steps in the Indego Exoskeleton. I'm currently back at Shepherd Center in Atlanta for five weeks of intensive therapy - this segment is just a part of what I'm doing along this journey.

Indego is a powered orthosis, sometimes referred to as an exoskeleton, worn around the waist and legs which allows individuals (me) with spinal cord injuries to stand and walk.

Indego enables clinicians to conduct over ground, task specific gait training and offers people with mobility impairments a new level of independence. Designed for personal use, but currently being researched in clinics, Indego offers features that set it apart as a tool for therapy and personal mobility for those with spinal cord injuries. Future advancements will enable use with a wide array of partial mobility impairments, pending regulatory approval.

I'm super excited to share this with you. Thank you again for all your financial support and prayer.

First Steps in Indego Exoskeleton
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During this week of Thanksgiving, my family and I are counting our blessings in a way we never did before. It's been a challenging 5 months, but God is good all the time. My health is continuing to improve and I am feeling stronger. This past session of OT and PT at Shepherd have advanced my mobility to some degree. And although I have miles to go, because of your constant prayers and financial support, I have hope for moving toward my healing goals.

From our family to yours, we wish you a very Happy Thanksgiving.

Forever Grateful,
Sarah Kelly & family
Thankful this Thanksgiving
Handicapable Bicycle for Training
Practicing the ever challenging "dips"
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Today I am thrilled (as evidenced in my smile) to be in this standing frame at Shepherd Center in Atlanta. I know it looks oh so easy, but I assure you that for a spinal cord injury patient, it is not. Muscles in my abdomen have shortened during the past four months. As I am pushed to a standing position, I feel tremendous pain.

Also, my blood pressure is not stable due to the injury. Any drop in pressure causes me to feel weak and nauseated. My trainer tried this earlier in the week and I could barely tolerate it. However, additional therapy techniques to stretch those abdominal muscles along with a wide binder and compression socks for pressure, made today a much better outcome.

This is a long journey and I will need to work very hard. It's a process, but I'm up for the task at hand and am forever thankful to you for contributing to my rehabilitation.

"For I know the plans and thoughts that I have for you," says the Lord. "plans for peace and well-being and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call on Me and you will come and pray to Me, and I will hear and I will listen to you. Then you will seek Me and require Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.
Jeremiah 29:11-13
Standing Frame at Shepherd Center
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$52,369 of $500,000 goal

Raised by 294 people in 22 months
Created October 3, 2017
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