Jessica needs our help!
Meet Jessica Piraino from Anchorage, Alaska. Class of 2013 graduate, she is a vibrant social butterfly with a contagious smile. She enjoys tennis and was the team captain her senior year. Jessica planned to attend Seattle University in the fall of 2013…and then a terrible accident happened.
On August 4th, 2013, Jessica and a group of friends traveled to McCarthy, Alaska. The vehicle Jess was riding in rolled down a steep embankment, throwing Jessica from the vehicle. She was airlifted to Providence Alaska Medical Center in Anchorage. She suffered a traumatic brain injury, a T6-T7 spinal fracture and a T8-T9 spinal dislocation. Her injuries left her paralyzed from the chest down. Soon after her arrival to the hospital, she was rushed to the operating room. Doctors would later say that the skull fracture she incurred fortunately allowed room for her brain to swell. Two and half weeks later Jess was strong enough to undergo back surgery to stabilize her spine. Five weeks after her accident, Jess is strong enough to start rehabilition.
On September 11th Jess was once again airlifted. This time to the world renowned Craig Hospital in Denver, Colorado. At Craig, Jess spent nearly twelve challenging weeks learning the tools she needs to live as a parapalegic. She transferred from wheelchair to bed, bed to wheelchair, from physical therapy mat to chair, chair to mat, transfer, transfer, transfer… Crank cycling class everyday for cardio, therapy sessions for emotional health, and classes to teach her how to upright herself from a tipped chair are just a few examples of her days at Craig. Her schedule was rigorous, she worked hard and still she smiled. For fun she was Spiderman for Halloween, played tennis and basketball, and explored the Denver area with her Mom. While Jessica and her Mom were at Craig, Jessica’s father was hard at work preparing for her return home. He sold the family home. The new home is more conducive to Jessica's needs. On November 29th, Jessica and her mother flew home to Alaska. This time Jess would travel via commercial airlines, one of many firsts as a parapalegic.
Jess is happy to be home with friends and family. Everyday she is closer to being "herself."
This accident can happen to any of us. The Piraino family’s resources have been stretched to its limits, but still needs exist. Needs that cannot be met without our help. These are the items we hope to supply Jess through our donations.
Jessica needs a wheelchair accessible van equiped with hand controls to regain her independence. As a young adult she will be responsible to get to her medical appointments, attend classes and participate in social activities. A quality van that will last her for many years to come starts at $40,000. The conversion including hand controls costs $13,000. Jessica plans to attend Seattle University next fall. A quality van will last her many years; well past the date of her college graduation.
Jessica needs a standing frame which brings her to an upright position. This places a load on her bones thus strengthening them. Without a standing frame, she will suffer osteoporosis. Cornell University is making breakthrough discoveries everyday. Robotic legs exist in which the user controls them with thoughts alone. Jess witnessed a paraplegic with her same injury walk around the gymnasium at Craig Hospital. If Jess does not maintain bone health, her bones will not be strong enough to support her when this technology becomes attainable.
Jessica needs a crank cycle to maintain her cardiovascular health. It is difficult for a paraplegic to maintain cardiovascular health because fewer muscles are used. She is passionate about tennis and dreams of getting on the court soon. She requires a special sports chair to play.
Please click on the blue "give now" icon to donate. Check back often to see our progress.
Thank you for reading and thank you for your support! Every little bit helps so much!