Kasey Crute returns home

After spending several months in an Atlanta hospital, Chester native Kasey Crute is finally home. Crute, 19, was a freshman at the University of Virginia when she suffered a paralyzing neck injury in early March while volunteering in Panama.

“I was definitely ready to get out of the hospital,” Crute said. “It’s just normal now not being in the hospital and being home.”

Crute, paralyzed from the shoulders down, is in the process of learning how to be as independent as possible. She is living in the home of her uncle, Dave Bickel, and his family, as her home just down the street was undergoing a renovation when she arrived two weeks ago week, Wednesday, Aug. 3.  The completion date for the process is expected to be in three to five months.

With a brand-new perspective and the growing support of her family, Crute is doing her best to be optimistic.

“It just kind of motivates you to move forward; you just realize that you have to because other people are living in much worse conditions,” she said. Twice a week, Crute and a family member travel to Mechanicsville for therapy sessions.

Crute plans to return to college in January 2012 but has considered changing her major so she can one day teach or be a professor, perhaps even counseling people undergoing similar situations.

As for her mother, Sherri, a financial analyst, who has been by her side since the very beginning, said co-workers – people she has never met – have donated their leave hours for her to be with her daughter. She also said complete strangers have offered advice, helping the family in any way they can.

“People who have had similar injuries have reached out to us and they have sort of embraced this family,” Sherri said. “People have just been so amazing.”

When the accident first occurred, Bickel helped set up the Kasey Crute Assistance Fund to combat expenses the family would face. In that time numerous people have donated thousands of dollars and equipment to make her transition easier.

But still the family needs all the help they can get: “We have to keep it visible because the money is going to be spent,” he said.

Bickel has set up a Golf Tournament for Oct. 1, 2011, at the River’s Bend Golf Course, inviting a total of 100 golfers to compete. With a little less than half already signed up to participate, 60 more golfers are needed. The donation is only $100 for each golfer, which includes 18 holes of golf (including a cart), breakfast, lunch, door prizes for each player and awards. Funds directly help the Kasey Crute Assistance Fund. For more details, contact Dave Bickel at 852-6304.

Also, the family is asking that people wanting to help can donate money to the assistance fund currently held at Wells Fargo. They have even provided an account number for that reason; it is: 1010313015739. Anyone wanting to write the family can do so, the Bickel’s address is 812 Green Vista Drive, Chester, VA 23831.

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