Local teen paralyzed in Panama says thank you to community

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, VA (WWBT) - The road to recovery continues for an 18-year old Chesterfield student. You may remember, Kasey Crute was paralyzed while on a volunteer trip to Panama a few weeks ago.   Wednesday, Kasey is back in Virginia at UVA Medical Center in Charlottesville, where from her hospital bed she said thank you to the community that continues to lift her spirit.

Kasey is paralyzed from the chest down.  Her neck is in a brace.   Well enough to speak, but too nervous for a phone interview, Wednesday, Kasey Crute said thank you in a statement:

"I am so happy to be home and I'm amazed by the unexpected support awaiting me by my Family, UVA friends, rugby team mates, Matoaca and Thomas Dale friends and even strangers. They have all gone out of their way to help me with fund raisers here at UVA and in Chester, setting up a website, sharing my story and through many prayers."

During spring break, Casey traveled to Panama to re-vamp a village.  During an outing with local children, Kasey broke her back after she jumped in a watering hole.   Her aunt said Kasey is paralyzed from the chest down.

When we spoke with you last week you all had raised roughly $2,000. Now it's at what?  "We're over $10,000 today," explained Kasey's aunt Rene Bickel.

$10,000 to help tackle medical bills and the painful rehab that waits for the UVA freshman.

"The goal is to get her back at UVA," said Bickel.

Rene Bickel just returned from visiting her niece at UVA Medical Center.

"When you first walk in she looked gorgeous.  Just beautiful!  It was difficult to realize that she can't get up and move."

One act of kindness really touched the family's heart.   A neighbor is donating a hydraulic lift that will move Kasey from bed to chair.   Brand-new, it was purchased for his paralyzed wife who recently passed away.

"He wanted to give it to a good family that could get a lot of use out of it," said Bickel.

Classmates are collecting donations on this website: www.Hope2KC.org  as people continue to send hope to Kasey Crute.

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