Keeping Kellen on her Bike: A Campaign for our Sister

By: Maggie Knight Knaub

2015-11-09-1447076225-686419-hospitalweekofaccident.jpgKellen and Friends, One Week After Her Bike Collided With a Pickup Truck

The Plumfund Story: A Tragic Accident
On Friday, February 13 of this year, our big sister, Kellen, was doing what she loves most — riding her bike. Kellen, an avid cyclist and member of the Albuquerque-based cycling team Nero Veloce, was out for a morning ride when a pick-up truck failed to yield and pulled out in front of her. Unable to stop, she struck its side and was thrown 12 feet, flying over the pick-up bed and onto the asphalt, striking her jaw against the bed of the truck in the process. Kellen was rushed to the emergency room where she spent three days in the ICU plus four more days in the hospital. During that time, she endured surgery to repair her lower jaw, which was shattered on one side and broken in four places on the other. For the next eight weeks, Kellen was in a full thoracic and neck brace to support four fractured vertebrae, while receiving 24-hour care from family and friends. To make matters worse, she also suffered brain hemorrhaging, lacerations, and hematomas in the collision. As a result of this traumatic incident, she was diagnosed with PTSD, and Adjustment Disorder with Mixed Anxiety and Depressed Mood.

While Kellen heals physically and emotionally she is unable to work and, therefore, has reduced income. She is also in the midst of a battle with the driver's insurance agency, but will not be receiving a payout anytime soon. In order to help Kellen focus her energy toward healing rather than worrying about her financial difficulties, we opened a plumfund.

Plumfund Giving in Action: Helping Kellen Heal
It is now nine months since the accident and Kellen, through unrivaled grit and determination, has made huge gains with her recovery. But she still has a long road ahead. She has had a total of four surgeries to repair her jaw, the latest including a double bone graft and placement of another metal plate. Still unable to chew solid food, she is surviving on smoothies alone. Although she has been medically cleared to return to her regular activities like cycling and running, she tires easily and is in constant pain from her injuries. Kellen struggles with nightmares, fear and anxiety, just some of the side effects of her PTSD. Along with counseling for her mental and emotional state, Kellen still needs dental surgery, physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy. It is not clear when she will be able to return to work or her normal way of life. Each day is a challenge, but Kellen continues to show astounding tenacity.

The response to our request for financial help has been staggering, bringing us to tears for every dollar given. The generosity of friends and strangers has greatly eased Kellen's stress and worries, freeing up more energy for healing. When we started the plumfund, we never imagined we would see such a positive response — our goal seemed out of reach. But we have surpassed it and are still receiving donations for our big sister. Words cannot begin to express the gratitude we feel towards all who have reached out. It is with truly humble hearts that we receive continued support . We can't wait to get Kellen back on her bike, enjoying her morning ride again.

2015-11-09-1447077682-191785-KellenOCT2014.jpgKellen Before the Accident, October 2014

2015-11-09-1447080569-7470104-KellenBike2015.JPGKellen, One Year Later, Back on her Bike

This post is part of a series produced by The Huffington Post and Plumfund, in conjunction with Giving Tuesday. In the series, we'll feature inspirational stories of giving and receiving from users and friends of Plumfund, the free crowdfunding site. You'll find one post every weekday in November leading up to Giving Tuesday. To learn more about this campaign or start your own, visit Plumfund.com.