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Support Nicole Abrino

$17,340 of $20,000 goal

Raised by 378 people in 2 months
Created January 26, 2019

On Thursday night, Nicole was involved in a deadly shooting at PJ Harrigans in State College  that took the life of 4 others. She was shot in the chest and immediately taken to the hospital where she was then life flighted to UPMC in Pittsburgh. She was in critical condition as she underwent her first surgery. Following, she was stable but sedated. Earlier this morning, she underwent her second surgery. Nicole is the only survivor of the awful tragedy that took place. She still has a long journey ahead of her, including the possibility of more surgeries, PT, continued doctors visits and hospital stays. Nicole still has her whole life ahead of her and continues to fight everyday. We are putting together this gofundme to assist her and her parents with the bills they will soon be burdened with. Also to help with her parents and older sister who have had to miss work to be by her side in Pittsburgh. Please continue to keep Nicole in your prayers.
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I didn’t want to admit it...



I didn’t want to admit it but I feel myself slowly declining. As I push myself to walk everyday, the wheelchair days are coming and I can already feel it. The new pain in my spine (that I’m praying to god isn’t the bullet moving) is unbearable, I lay awake every night in pain. I wake up, I can hardly move. More of my body is becoming hypersensitive so much holding hands with my fiancé is almost painful. I didn’t want to admit it because what does that make me? Nothing? I know it sounds crazy but if I had to give up one of my senses it would not be touch.



I didn’t want to admit it that life being back to “normal” still isn’t normal yet. Our new house isn’t ready to move into yet. I haven’t even bought a kitchen table, washer dryer, nothing yet. I’m so far behind on everything I should be doing. I don’t have a caterer for my wedding, not to mention a dj or even went as far as trying on dresses. But how could I, with all these scars. Just being comfortable is so hard.



I didn’t want to admit that almost a week ago I finally felt like it was time to treat myself. So I made a hair appointment. Anybody that knows me knows I love having my hair done....they always say you can only dye your hair so much until it falls out. Well....it did. (PICTURE SEEN BELOW) I never knew that “medicine hair” was a thing but let me tell you, it is. After all the treatments I’ve had over the past three months it literally made my hair start to fall out when having it chemically processed. Nobody is to blame. I was warned of the fact it could happen but you know with enough bad stuff going on I shouldn’t have tested my luck. And now, hair my hair is gone.



I didn’t want to admit that I got the worse news ever in the past week. A man I love very dearly is very sick and I can’t get to Florida to be with him. My heart is constantly aching at the thought of “what if he isn’t the one to walk me down the isle with my dad.” I have to have two people walk me so I don’t have to use any crutches but he was supposed to be the second. Could life be cruel enough to take another life. The life I need in mine to help me get through everyday.



I didn’t want to admit, there is a life after tragedies like mine. It just takes a long time to find a place where you feel comfortable in your own skin.


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Looking at my shadow-



Looking at my shadow- I realize that I am, in fact; handicap. I hadn’t truly believed it until now. Today while visiting my wedding venue I realized not only am I handicap, but there are some amazing people in the world who acknowledge you are, and don’t treat you different. But i hadn’t truly believed it until last night while on a walk after dusk. I was watching my shadow and was like wow...look at me. Kinda pathetic but then again kinda not because I survived this whole tragedy.



Looking at my shadow- I didn’t realize how i truly looked walking with the forearm crutches. The most infuriating thing happened to me the other day. My fiancé, best friend and I walked into Applebee’s (where I question ever eating again and if you know me you know I think it’s the bomb) and instead of asking if I simply preferred a table or booth so I’m comfortable she puts her hands up and gestures me using the crutches and says “do you want a table because of your....” my what? I’m not different. I just couldn’t believe it.



Looking at my shadow- I didn’t realize that someday my own reflection would potentially cause me additional PTSD. Yesterday I was following up with one of my trauma surgeons where she recommended me having plastic surgery to have the vast scar up my stomach minimized. I hadn’t honestly considered it until she said you know, someday you may look down at yourself and just have an attack over the way your own reflection is. It almost made me sick to the stomach. I suppose it’s something to consider but where do you begin, I can only imagine how expensive that is which I simply can’t do after still now hearing back from SSI, and do I honestly want to undergo another surgery.



Trying to make this a shorter entry so I don’t bore anyone, but I want to mention something I don’t understand being “handicap.” Why the heck do businesses have to have the handicap edges of the curb up the their storefronts but don’t have to have handicap accessible doors?! I’m so tired of heavy doors nearly knocking me over because I simply can’t open them. I feel so limited to what I can do independently due to this. And especially why the heck is a YMCA membership SO EXPENSIVE. I looked into a family membership yesterday because it’s not too far from home and My jaw dropped when I heard the price!
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I was fine until I wasn’t-



I was fine until I wasn’t- After everything I wrote in my last entry that wasn’t nearly the worse of it all. This might be long but worth the read.
Let me tell you about the night I saw those pearly gates everyone speaks of.



I was fine until I wasn’t-
Finally out of the ICU, it was late at night. I was brought to another floor where I was ushered into a room where there was another woman. I’m shaking as I type this remembering the feeling I got as the first thing I remember is her watching tv. NCIS at that. I could hear the gunshots as I tried to lift my arms to cover my head and screamed in pain as I tried to lift my legs to get into the fetal position. I still can’t really watch tv. Matter of fact, last night I was watching step brothers thinking to myself, this is great I’m finally able to watch something to tv and suddenly there was a scene and I found myself clenching my teeth together, my heart pounding and my legs shaking.



I was fine until I wasn’t-
Finally I was put in a private room where the psychologist told us it wasn’t safe for me to be in a shared room or around other patients. But I was so happy, I was gonna out of the ICU and I was okay. It wasn’t one day later that I remember my sister and now fiancé telling the nurses to look at my heart beating. Little did I know, them saying this saved my life.



I was fine until I wasn’t-
I was fine that day. Until that moment I was like YES. Maybe I can go home soon. I forgot to mention how the doctors only ever expected me to be there for 5-7 days. Anywho... I was fine. I could finally breathe. I could sit up in bed in no pain i thought I was finally getting better. Little did I know I was just in shock from going septic.



I was fine until I wasn’t-
Here is how my mom would describe that night: “I want to show you a miracle. But first I have to take you into a scarey dark place. It all started on January 24th close to midnight. I got the phone call any parent dreads... "our daughter Nikki was shot". Actually, I'm Nikki's stepmom, but we are very close. First denial hits you. Then shock ,I guess. And lots of questions, but the important one- "is she gonna be ok" -no one had an answer for. I keep praying God, please dont take another child. Having lost 2 sons already, I could only pray. Finally, we get to the hospital. I've been in ICU's before, but this is bad. My daughter is laying on the bed, but there are so many tubes and wires. She squeezes our hands. I think she knows we are here. We tell her we love her. She is critical , but definitely alive. We are witnessing a miracle. The injuries Nikki sustained are life threatening, but she has been fighting for her life and we are there for her. I get to travel back and forth to the hospital. The family is taking turns staying with Nikki not wanting to leave her side. We watch her breathe, stare at the monitors, watch for any movement. When her eyes open or a toe wiggles, we know we are witnessing another miracle. She's not just alive.... she can move, and shes communicating! But this isn't the miracle I want to show you. I'm sleeping in a chair in the room with Nikki at this point. Shes been here 2 weeks now. She is able to talk and knows more than me about all the monitors and meds. She sleeps about 20 minutes, then wakes up. Usually from pain, or a nightmare. Its like an endless cycle. Im glad I'm here for her. I get her to talk about her puppy at home or the kitties. She drifts to sleep. The next night her heart beat seems high. You can see her chest thumping even. They keep taking blood. Running tests. They take her- bed and all- for more tests around 11pm. They dont let her sleep. The nurse doesnt like her color. She keeps coming in. Taking MORE blood. I'm asking questions. Nikki's asking questions. The Nurse says shes just checking. The monitor is showing Nikki's blood pressure dropping tho. Nikki can see it. And it keeps dropping. The nurse steps out. Still dropping. Doctors come in with the nurse now. Its 1am. They usher me to doorway. What is happening.? Nikki asks " am I dying?" The nurse pulls down her mask and say ' look at me. Do i look worried?' Nikki says "no" in a tiny voice. Nurse tells her 'we've got this. We've got you'. Meanwhile, all these drs are milling around the bed. Nikki makes eye contact with me and I try to smile, nod, and whisper 'its ok'. She's so scared. I'm so scared. The dr holds up this big long wire. It looks 6 feet long. What IS it? I peek at the monitors . Her blood pressure is near single digits. Ive never heard of pressure that low. A dr comes to the door and says to me' if you are going to lose it, you need to go down the hall.' Nikki makes eye contact with me and I stay for her. She's asking if shes dying. The crash cart is here. Oh dear God, I can't lose her. Precious moments tick. All of a sudden the drs voices change, they seem to all step back from her bed. Watching the monitor. Her pressure starts to rise. Slowly. Steadily. They did it. No crash cart needed. She is ok.

I stood in a doorway and watched my daughter dying. Hearing her voice knowing SHE knew she was dying. Then I saw and I heard and I felt a change. That was the miracle happening. I was at the doorway of a miracle and I brought you to that door with me. God still does miracles.. just look at my beautiful daughter!”



I was fine until I wasn’t-
I remember this all. I remember that nurse who literally I owe everything to. She held my hand and didn’t let go. I remember them quickly moving everything out of the room and making my mom leave. Covering me up in blue surgical clothes and placing one over my head with the clear window over my eyes and mouth. This was no greys anatomy. This was real life. This was when I looked up at my stats reading nearly single digits and swear I saw a light out of the corner. I new this was it. This was when I was going to die. It’s here. I got to see all my family at this point and knew. I remember the pain of them placing what felt like a 10 foot rope into my arteries. One in my left upper chest and one in my femoral line. I heard the doctors talk about how the one in my chest wasn’t going to work so they pulled it right then and that left me with a scar on my chest.



I was fine until I wasn’t-
At this point i was septic and my body needed direct meds - antibiotics for my blood pressure and to heart because i was bottoming out. But somehow. I survived.



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Yesterday I got an email saying something along the lines of, we love that you have been doing great outside of the hospital but what was it like inside it?



Awful. I can already feel my heart pounding over the awful care I received. Yes my heart is pounding and my blood pressure is probably extremely high. The other day at the doctors I was reading at 176/121 and they didn’t even flinch. Apparently, this is my new normal.
On several occasions my watch had alerted me that If your heart rate remains above or below a chosen beats per minute (BPM) while you appear to have been inactive for a period of 10 minutes, your Apple Watch can notify you. This happens to me on the daily over the PTSD I endure.
(Photo shown below)



My heart is pounding-
I’m not going to go into TOO much detail with this one but the best care I received was the amazing men who were with me the whole way to the hospital. What people don’t know is I was life flighted from state college to Altoona where I was taken inside, they had one look at me and said. No. She needs to go somewhere else. We can’t provide her with the surgeries she needs.
This saved my life.



My heart is pounding-
It was snowing that night. I remember vividly because they had cut my shirt off on that cold bar floor and took me outside uncovered. I remember vividly because the life flight couldn’t take me any further due to the weather. I unfortunately had to go by ambulance to Pittsburgh. What should have took two hours took four and I felt
EVERY
SINGLE
BUMP
IN
THE
ROAD
the WHOLE way there. I remember vividly just begging for my life and not once did anybody give me any hope. I remember vividly the voices they thought I couldn’t hear saying they were running out of supplies from how bad my injuries were. I unfortunately remember vividly looking back into the ambulance as they took me into the hospital seeing the amount of flood on the cold floor of the ambulance.



My heart is pounding-
I remember begging the medical teams to let me call my mom. I said, “I know I’m in shock but you have to call my mom, I know I know her number by heart.. please you just have to call my mom” finally I got ahold of my mother who I probably had not talked to in well over a month saying “mom I love you and please take care of gram. Just please make sure she’s okay and tell her I loved her more than anything in the world. Mom please come I need you here.” And I begged her to bring my dog with her which is kind of hilarious because that’s totally me. All I wanted was lilly.



My heart is pounding-
I woke up strapped to a bed with a tube down my throat. (Graphic photo listed below) My dad and my uncle were the first ones I saw and i remember thinking, “oh my gosh an I a potato” I didn’t know if I could walk, talk, anything. As I tried to speak they told me not to because of the tube. Everybody who came that night knows I tried to communicate by writing on their hands. Nothing was more frustrating than nobody knowing what I was trying to say and when they finally gave me a pen and paper I remember looking down at what a wrote with my swollen hand and thinking, “what the hell kind of hand writing is that.”



My heart is pounding-
The pain was indescribable. Even a sheet touching my skin was excruciating for me. Every. Single. Little. Touch.
My family didn’t realize that every time someone ran into my bed I tried to scream but couldn’t. And they kept doing it unknowingly and it caused me the most pain, you wouldn’t believe. I had pain in my hips but not my legs. I remember looking down trying to move my toes but I couldn’t.
It wasn’t until four days in that they had FINALLY decided to clean me up.
Four. Days.
The only reason they even did was because one of my fake eye lashes were falling off which they didn’t even know i had on, proving how much they payed attention and you wouldn’t believe it, but my sister took them off me and saved them for me. I remember the girls who washed me up. It was like I was a wet dog that they where just slabbing up. I remember looking down at my stomach seeing all these tubes and drains hanging out of me and a big gauze from between my breasts to around and down past my belly button. At this point I didn’t know how bad my condition truly was.



My heart is pounding-
I don’t want to bore you with “what it was like inside the hospital” but I’ll leave you with this. I remember so vividly that it wasn’t until soon after I woke up that I heard the doctors talking with my parents saying “we need to do the surgery and we’re taking her now.” I was still intubated at this point so they had to bag me the whole way to the procedure room. My heart was pounding and I couldn’t breathe. And I mean literally. Couldn’t. Breathe. I was trying to tap the nurses hand to tell her she wasn’t bagging me fast enough. Another nurse realized what I was trying to gesture and told her “hey you aren’t bagging her fast enough” and it was then that the nurse who I could tell a million goosebumps stories about dropped the bag on my chest and said to the other nurses “well if you think you can do it better do it yourself” and she walked away. How. How can you be so heartless. You left a 22 year old girl unable to breathe for what felt like a lifetime. This is the same nurse who was changing a dressing on my neck and couldn’t get my hair out of the tape and just cut a chunk of my hair off.



If you’d like to help make my house a home please view the following link-
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Raised by 378 people in 2 months
Created January 26, 2019
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