A Martinez family is asking relatives and friends to walk in support of one of their own - Gina Sprague, who was paralyzed in a March car accident.
"I have never seen someone so darned determined as Gina," said Jennifer Crow, Sprague's oldest sister, of Gina's rehabilitation efforts in the Craig Hospital, a center for spinal cord injury and traumatic brain injury in Denver
Sprague, a Lakeside High School graduate now living in Vail, Colo., suffered one crushed vertebra and a second damaged vertebra when the truck and trailer she was driving to work March 11 skidded on black ice and flipped three times. Sprague, who was wearing her seat belt, was thrown from the vehicle. She has been undergoing rehabilitation therapy at the Craig Hospital for several weeks.
The Sprague family has organized a 5K walk for Saturday at Savannah Rapids Pavilion. Proceeds from the walk go to the Gina Sprague Fund to help pay for any medical bills or necessities, such as retrofitting a vehicle or her home to be handicapped accessible. Proceeds also will go toward any costs not covered by insurance, including such bills as her house payments while she's in rehabilitation.
Crow said Sprague's medical bills should be about $2 million when she leaves the hospital, though much of it will be covered by her workers compensation.
The walk costs $25 in advance and $30 the day of the walk for adults; and $15 in advance and $20 Saturday for children and students. Families of six can preregister for $75. The cost includes a T-shirt.
Sprague, who her family said was always a large supporter of others, now has her own cheerleaders in her family and a large network of friends both locally and in Colorado.
"I just feel so strongly and Gina does, too, that this whole incident has brought out the best in so many people," Crow said. Two fundraising events have been held - one in Colorado and another at the business Mojeska in downtown Augusta a few weeks ago. She said she hopes the event "makes people realize how fragile life is and how much you need to tell people you love them, and how strong friends can be when you need them.''
Sprague, the daughter of Larry and Candi Sprague, of Martinez, worked for a sports marketing company traveling to put on amateur ski competitions. Sprague's mother has been by her side since the accident, while other family members have made several trips to visit. Sprague's father, who said he gets frequent updates while staying at the family's Martinez home, said Sprague has regained some movement. The ability to move began slowly in her right toes and moved upward until now Sprague, with the assistance of a rolling therapy board, can move her leg to her chest in a bicycle pedaling motion. Slight movement recently progressed to her left toes.
"One of the things that has absolutely taken me aback is her attitude about this thing," he said of his 30-year-old daughter, who was told she'd probably never walk again. "Of course there was a lot of tears and crying at that particular time. But it seemed like, by the end of that day, Gina's attitude was 'So be it. Game on.'"
The family has planned a 31st birthday party for Sprague from 5:30 to 8 p.m. May 1 at the Silver Palm Catering Co. in National Hills shopping center. The party is free and will feature a slide show and video from Sprague.
Donations can be made to the Gina Sprague Fund, c/o Jennifer Crow, 784 Springbrook Lane, Evans, GA 30809.
For more information on both events, visit www.augustacorporateevents.com/gina.htm or call (706) 860-5519 or email@example.com
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