The SEEDlings and an entire community came together when our very own world was rocked by an act of senseless violence. While out celebrating a birthday on the cool breezy night of October 5th, 2017, Karen, a single mother of 3 had her world changed forever. Her daughter had been shot.
At just 18 years of age, Brianna began fighting for her life like most of us could never understand. While walking innocuously through her apartment complex with her 16-year-old brother, Brianna had been shot in the face. Through the mouth and out the back of the skull, barely missing the spinal cord when exiting the back of the neck. Despite being awake, alert, and aware of what happened, Brianna was unable to speak. The bullet shattered several teeth, gums, her tongue, and 4 vertebrae. This occurred on the very day Brianna was hired to start a new job, the catalyst to her independence to start going to school and getting her own place.
Brianna loved to read and was a volunteer for the SEED foundation herself. Being a sharp young woman, she had learned bookkeeping as a teen in hopes of learning the craft better from a CPA where she could also be of more service to SEED. During the time of the shooting, Brianna was uninsured like many children in her position. Suddenly Karen needed to cover medical expenses on top of more eating out, hotels, personal items, extra gas, and the costs associated with caring for a child in the ICU. Not easy when you stop working to become your child’s caretaker.
SEED recognized that this family was suffering physically, and hurting emotionally. And while they couldn’t prevent that, they could help alleviate some of the financial burdens.
So SEED immediately went to work helping Karen and Brianna pick up the pieces. Helping with finances, taking the third shift in ICU, organizing how our community can provide the most help.
By October 13th Brianna was mobile. Truly she was the miracle kid. Wearing a brace created the challenge of her having to learn how to move all over again which she was able to achieve in a month’s time. Miracle indeed. Unfortunately, Brianna was forced to return to the same apartment complex the incident occurred, but it was long before SEED helped establish the connections that made it possible to move the family into a single dwelling residence.
December of that same year, despite making miraculous strides, Brianna’s skill was sitting very close to the top of her spine, threatening paralysis. Surgery was a necessity.
As the New Year came, so did the hefty emotional tolls. Karen had to start going back to work. Brianna had to learn how to process her feelings. Her brother had to learn to cope with everything he saw that he blamed himself for. It felt like there wasn’t enough money or prayers to get this family back on track but there was. There is. Finally, Brianna came home from the hospital full-time but State Insurance still hadn’t kicked in. She knew her road to recovery was long and hard but she refused to give up. She was strong and determined. SEED was able to help Karen cover the costs of medication and the bevy of other medical needs.
In March of 2018, Brianna’s surgery was scheduled but not before some temporary paralysis set in. SEED was able to help pay for the hotel in Gainesville for Brianna to have her family with her during the procedure. The surgery was successful and gave her motion in her neck that was much needed. In those 12 weeks, SEED got as much help as possible from donors in our community to help with rent, food, and personal items.
On January 11, 2019, after many months of recovery, Brianna needed bone graft from her hip and ribs to repair her jaw that was blown out by the bullet. After this procedure, Brianna was able to get the implants to replace the 3 teeth that were lost in the violent attack. Brianna is still the miracle kid. She finished CNA school, had a child of her own, and is working 2 jobs as of December 2019. She still suffers from PTSD pretty bad but she is making strides on her way to a full recovery. Her brother, now 18, still struggles with emotional trauma from the incident but is doing his best to transition into adulthood. Karen is grateful to have so much recovery and support and is back to running her business full time.
SEED wishes to bring Brianna back to the pre-shooting state. It’s miracles like Brianna and their families we are always fighting for. These fights can’t be won without the support of our communities across the globe. When you donate to SEED, you’re donating to families like Brianna’s. For causes that save lives.