January 14, 2009
Library Attack Victim’s Recovery Inspired By Community
Every good story seems to start with a hero seeded in trying circumstances due to some foe’s doing, but good always perseveres. Every now and again, life mimics these stories as is the case with the victim of the Bloomingdale Library attack.
Having been brutally attacked by accused assailant Kendrick Morris, now 17, in April at the Bloomingdale Library, the 18-year-old East Bay High School student was left badly beaten and blinded, leading to an induced coma in her recovery from the injuries. Morris is currently in Hillsborough County jail and is scheduled to be tried as an adult, while the victim returned home from rehabilitation in November.
“She’s doing good. Home has been a much better environment for her to recover in. It is much easier for her but harder on my mom,” states the victim’s older sister, both of whose names cannot be released due to legal reasons. The victim’s eyesight has improved, and the family is working on her ability to start eating solid foods, which will then help strengthen her capacity to speak. Her sister says the 18-year-old communicates through hand and face gestures. To keep her therapy on track and her progress enduring, the Brandon-based family is seeking volunteers in the realm of a speech therapist, a nutritionist and a doctor of alternative medicine as the 18-year-old is reacting poorly to current prescriptions.
With the support of the community, the victim has gained a wheelchair, a conversion van, donations and volunteers’ time and help. “There’s so many [who have helped], I wouldn’t be able to name them all,” says the sister. “We just want to say thank you. We really wish we could personally thank you all.”
Care is around the clock for the victim, whose mother is the main provider of her needs, though many volunteers from the community have helped along the way. Through time and donations, over $100,000 to put a number on it, the family has been able to move forth with the 18-year-old’s therapy, but funds are running out and coverage will soon be coming to an end.
If you would like to make a donation to the recovering 18-year-old, visit any branch of SunTrust Bank with a check made payable to the Bloomingdale Library Attack Victim Fund. Or, if you would like to volunteer your time and energy to help the family, call Cheryl Zemina, a close friend of the family’s, at 695-1412.
In the end, the victim’s sister exclaims, “It’s helped our little sister recover faster knowing there are so many good people out there, rather than just one bad person. Everyone tells her she is an inspiration, but the truth is, the community is an inspiration to her to get better.” And this victim plans to be a victim no longer but a hero in her own right as she uses the bad to forge good, one day planning to create her own charitable endeavor, helping those who have suffered as well from brain injuries, stroke and trauma. But readers will have to find out more about those adventures in the sequel.
Until then, visit www.bloomingdalelibraryattackvictim.com to blog or see what upcoming fundraising events are in the works.