Stephanie and Michael Loyal put five months of hard work into refurbishing the Louisville home that belonged to Mrs. Loyal's grandparents.
The Loyals planned to stay at their home at 5774 Georgia Hwy. 24 with their only son, 19-month-old Dalton, for another few years before moving back to Mrs. Loyal's native Grovetown.
Just when the Loyals thought their world was coming together, a drunken driver tore it apart. In February, the driver, traveling the wrong way on Interstate 20, hit the Loyals head-on, tearing apart most of Mrs. Loyal's intestines, breaking her back and severing the main artery feeding her lower body.
The accident also crushed one of Mr. Loyal's heels and fractured both lower bones of one of his legs.
Although she is now healing, more than two months in the hospital and 16 surgeries left Mrs. Loyal unable to care for herself and Dalton. The couple moved back to Grovetown to live with Mrs. Loyal's parents, Walter "J.W." and Barbara Bowles, to cut down on bills and so they can help care for Mrs. Loyal and Dalton while her husband is at work.
Stephanie and Michael Loyal, with their 19-month-old son, Dalton, are selling $100 chances to win a house in Grovetown, to help pay Mrs. Loyal's mounting medical bills.
The city of Louisville and several corporations held blood drives and other fund-raisers in Mrs. Loyal's name. Several came together to enclose the Bowles' garage for the Loyals to move into.
"We want to everybody to know how much we appreciated that," Mrs. Bowles said. "Everybody has been so good to us."
With several surgeries left to go, Mrs. Loyal says it could be up to two years before she is able to care for herself and Dalton.
"Life goes on, and they will move out and be independent," Mrs. Bowles said. "I know they both look forward to be independent. It is just going to take time."
With monthly bills, the loss of Mrs. Loyal's income and medical bills approaching $1 million, the Loyals can no longer afford the home they dreamed of returning to. So they are giving away chances to win the home for $100.
Mrs. Loyal's grandparents spent 56 years in the home, and it is hard to let it go, she said.
"We would love for a young family to be in it and let it thrive for another 50-something years with them in it," Mrs. Bowles said. "If somebody didn't want the home that had a kind heart, that would be a great investment for them. Give us $100, and if you win, sell it and make a profit."
The Loyals are hoping to raise at least $70,000, enough to pay off the home and closing costs for the winner, scheduled to be drawn Saturday.
"It is going to be a lot easier without the payment," Mrs. Loyal said from her Medical College of Georgia Hospital room Nov. 20.
The 1,872-square-foot home, appraised at $84,000, sits on 1.6 acres outside Louisville. It was remodeled in 2002 with a new roof, paint, carpet, tile and appliances.
It has three bedrooms, 1 1/2 bathrooms, an eat-in kitchen, a sunroom, a family room, a Florida room and a laundry room. The two working fireplaces have new gas logs, and the property includes a three-car garage and a large storage building.
An entry to win the home costs $100 and can be obtained at www.stephanieloyal.com or by calling 860-5660.
Though Mrs. Loyal faces many more surgeries, she said she looks forward to the day she can care for herself and Dalton. Then the Loyals will move their family into another home of their own.
In the meantime, the Bowles and Mr. Loyal will help Mrs. Loyal's recovery, as she continues to heal faster than even the doctors expected, Mrs. Bowles said.
"(The doctors said) there are healing powers she has got that we are not even considering being normal," Mrs. Bowles said.
Mrs. Loyal is gradually getting more active. She is up and walking in short stints between surgeries.
"She does her exercises and build her strength up like she is supposed to," Mrs. Bowles said. "She really does have an amazing attitude. I am the one that sometimes falls down on the attitude. I am the weaker one. She's the strong one. She gives me my strength."
Mrs. Loyal said she believes in remaining optimistic.
"You kind of have to, if you don't you won't make it," she said. "We have to support each other. One day I am yelling because I am upset, and Momma calms me down. The next day she is yelling because she is upset, and I calm her down. We have to support each other."
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