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Archive for Saturday, January 24, 2009

Community run to benefit paralyzed Free State student

Erica Smith, left, a senior at Free State High School, works on designing layouts for the school’s yearbook with her classmates Friday. Smith was paralyzed in a car accident in August 2008, and a run to benefit The Erica Smith Foundation is being organized for March. Working with Smith are seniors Kelly Kelin, center, and Apollonia Shreders.

Erica Smith, left, a senior at Free State High School, works on designing layouts for the school’s yearbook with her classmates Friday. Smith was paralyzed in a car accident in August 2008, and a run to benefit The Erica Smith Foundation is being organized for March. Working with Smith are seniors Kelly Kelin, center, and Apollonia Shreders.

January 24, 2009

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Community run to benefit paralyzed Free State student

A traffic accident left her paralyzed, but now the community is rallying to help Free State High School student Erica Smith. Enlarge video

Erica Smith, a senior at Free State High School, center, chats with seniors Kelly Kelin, left, and Apollonia Shreders, right, about the school’s yearbook Friday. Several of Smith’s friends are helping organize a run to help raise money for the Erica Smith Foundation.

Erica Smith, a senior at Free State High School, center, chats with seniors Kelly Kelin, left, and Apollonia Shreders, right, about the school’s yearbook Friday. Several of Smith’s friends are helping organize a run to help raise money for the Erica Smith Foundation.

More information about the fundraiser

If you are interested in participating or if you’d like more information about the “Run for Erica,” contact Sue Reiske, 979-7042, Mreiske@aol.com; or Nora Sakumura, 393-4949, nsakumura@hotmail.com.

The deadline to enter the March 28 race is March 1. The event will be at Free State High School, where Erica Smith is a senior.

After a 17-year-old Lawrence girl was paralyzed in a car accident last summer, the community supported her and her family — hosting benefit concerts and fundraisers to help pay for her medical bills.

Although it’s been five months since the accident, people have not forgotten. And this spring, friends of the family will be host to a run in honor of Erica Smith.

Smith, a Free State High School senior, was ejected from the back seat of a moving vehicle last August and was flown to Kansas University Hospital. Smith was paralyzed from the waist down, and after several months in the hospital and therapy, she is finally getting back to her life.

“I just went back to school last week, and that’s been different and tiring because between that and therapy, it’s a long day,” Smith said recently. “I’m really glad to be back and getting back to normal.”

The one-vehicle accident that injured Smith, who now uses a wheelchair, occurred Aug. 5 when the car she was in swerved to avoid another vehicle — and then hit a drainage culvert and flipped several times. The accident happened on West Sixth Street near Queens Road.

In addition to her classes at Free State, Smith goes to both physical and occupational therapy. Smith, a former runner, said it would be much tougher for her without the support of her friends and classmates.

“There wouldn’t be anything to look forward to — it just really helps cheer me up and keep me in a good mood,” she said.

Smith’s mother, Terry, works as a receptionist at Reed Medical Group in Lawrence. Several of her co-workers are helping organize a run this spring to honor Erica and help raise money for the Erica Smith Foundation.

Sue Reiske, an administrative assistant at Reed Medical Group, said she is glad there is something she can do.

“It just seemed like this family could use some help,” Reiske said. “We’d been so lucky not to have any tragedies, and they have really been through a lot.”

The deadline to register for the race is March 1. The event will be March 28 at Free State High School.

“It was just really overwhelming for my husband and I both,” Terry Smith said of the backing of the community. “The support and the love and just everybody coming together.”

Comments

redmoonrising 5 years, 11 months ago

Having a child who has been disabled since birth both mentally and physically, I can tell you the strain this puts on a family physically, emotionally and financially. And I hope the familiy's friends don't forget that that the whole family can use their support. If there are other children, offer to take them out with yours. When you think the strain is getting to them, take them a nice dinner, a bunch of flowers, anything to brighten their day. My best wishes to the family and to Erica in particular in her recovery.

Ronda Miller 5 years, 11 months ago

The girl on the right is my beautiful daughter Apollonia. I haven't been doing much running, Erica, but I will be running at this event. I have six weeks to get moving... I hope the community will turn out in force for this event...and if you don't run, please do not let that stop you from donating to a wonderful family.How nice to see that you are back at school, Erica!!!!!!!

sharper 5 years, 11 months ago

I mailed off my info this morning (before I even saw this online).

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