Paralyzed Chesterfield teen gives thanks, hopes for miracle

CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) - A Chesterfield teen continues to fight after becoming paralyzed during a volunteer trip to Panama during spring break.

We first told you the story of Kasey Crute in March when she broke her back after a freak accident. After spending time in an Atlanta, GA hospital, Crute is preparing to come home to Chester.

Crute just celebrated her 19th birthday. In a video posted on Facebook by the teen, Crute thanked you for your support and explained why she's holding onto faith.

Because of the way she's framed by the camera on her computer, you can't tell Kasey Crute is strapped into her wheel chair. Able to raise her hands, she explained her paralysis.

"I'm paralyzed from here down," said Crute as she pointed to her chest. "And I can't move my fingers. They're just, kind of in a fist."

In a bright T-shirt, the 19-year-old explained how life has changed after she near deadly fall in March.  She had traveled to Panama to build bathrooms for five families. After completing her tasks for the day, Crute accompanied some other volunteers to a local watering hole. The teen was swimming with local children. Everyone had been jumping in and out of the water. When Crute took a leap into the water, she surfaced head down. She was instantly paralyzed. She broke her back.

"All I have is my arms and my head. It appears like I'm moving my back, but it's just my shoulders," Crute said in the video posted on her Facebook page.

"I'm not going to lie and say that it isn't extremely challenging to get through the days, but probably more mentally than physically," said Crute in a somber voice. Throughout the video, her eyes moved from the camera to her lap.

But it's your messages that continue to strengthen her fighting spirit. Her Facebook wall is dazzled with words of inspiration. People continue to send cards and prayers. Donations to cover medical bills are made on her website

"I just want to thank everyone for everything they've been doing. It's amazing how much money has been raised for me."

Back in Chesterfield, her family is preparing for Kasey's return.

"She's tentatively supposed to be coming back in July, mid-July," said her uncle David Bickel.    He invited NBC12 into Crute's home. He explained how the living room will become Crute's first-floor bedroom. Confined to a wheel chair, she would otherwise be without a bedroom since her room is on the second floor of the home.

Do you think it's going to be done by the time she gets back? "By July? It's a goal. It's a goal. It will be close," said Bickel.

Her family is preparing for the worst, while the girl set on graduating from UVA is wishing for the best.

"I am hoping on a miracle," said Crute. "You hear of amazing things happening to people. You just never know who it's going to happen to. I don't know if I deserve it, or if anyone deserves it, or if it's just random... but I'm really hoping on one."

The family estimates the bedroom for Kasey Crute will cost  $65,000.

Donations to Kasey's website total $38,000 at the time of this report.

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