The family of a Cape Coral teen, who was critically injured last month in a motorcycle accident, is reaching out to the public for some financial assistance.
Lisa Webb, mother of 17-year-old Lori Stehilk, has set up a Web site in the hope of raising funds to help cover the cost of some of her daughter's upfront medical expenses. She opened an account on the Web site: YouCaring.com - a free online fund-raising site. The account is at: youcaring.com/tori17.
As of Wednesday, the family had raised $55.
"We were hoping to raise about $2,000 or so," Webb said.
The funds will help pay for prescriptions, doctors' appointment fees and supplies, like bandages.
"Basically, to cover everything I'm paying," she said.
Webb lost her job soon after the accident because her employer would not hold the position until her daughter recovered, so the donations will also cover the gas to get Stehilk to her doctors' offices.
"All of her doctors are currently in Bradenton because that's where it happened," Webb said.
At 5:49 p.m., Oct. 9, Stehilk was traveling south on Interstate 75 on the back of a Honda VXR, being driven by her boyfriend, Jake Goldsmith, 18. About one mile south of Laurel Road in Sarasota, a Toyota Camry crashed into the rear of the motorcycle, according to a Florida Highway Patrol report.
The driver of the Camry, Melissa Esposito, 48, of North Port, failed to observe Goldsmith slowing down.
According to the FHP, the Camry traveled for about 400 feet with the VXR caught under its front carriage before stopping. Goldsmith and Stehilk were wearing helmets at the time of the crash.
Goldsmith sustained serious injuries, and Stehilk's injuries were listed as critical.
Both were transported to the Blake Medical Center in Bradenton.
Esposito, who was not injured in the accident, was cited for careless driving.
Webb said her daughter spent 11 days in the hospital and Goldsmith was treated for four days.
"He had his jaw wired shut," she said, adding that it will stay wired for six to eight weeks.
Her daughter, on the other hand, has undergone three surgeries. She broke her clavicle bone and had a metal plate put in with six screws, while another surgery covered injuries to her nose and forehead.
"That wound went down to her skull," she said of the forehead injury.
Stehilk most recently had surgery to her thumb - a skin graph to cover the joints.
"She's got a lot of other injuries, too," Webb said.
Fractured ribs and a fractured skull and spinal cord are also on the list.
"She presently can't hear out of her left ear, and she's got road rash all over her body," she said.
"It's been back and forth to see the doctors," Webb said.
The family has hired an attorney, but the "waiting game" has been frustrating.
"It's been a nightmare," she said.
Webb explained that it has been an emotional roller coaster since the crash. When the hospital first contacted her, she was told her daughter was in motorcycle accident and was on a respirator in critical condition.
"My reaction was that she wasn't going to pull through it," Webb said.
"I didn't leave her side. I spent every night in the hospital with her," she said.
Webb recalled the feelings of helplessness and anger.
"Your life can literally change in an instant, and that is exactly what happened to our family," she said.
A senior in high school, Stehilk will be out for at least 12 weeks.
"She's missing a lot," Webb said.
Her daughter does not remember the accident itself.
"Which is a blessing," Webb said. "But she does remember the whole hospital experience and the pain she went through."
"It's very hard to see my daughter go though what she's gone through," she said.
To contribute a monetary donation to Stehilk's medical expenses, visit: youcaring.com/tori17.
For more information or for other ways to help, contact Lisa Webb at (239) 470-8882.