By TOM GODFREY
More than $15,000 has been raised to help pay the medical costs of a Brampton university student and aspiring doctor who was left paralyzed in the U.S.
Friends and well-wishers of Amanda Edwards, 25, have launched a gofundme campaign on the Internet to help the ailing Ontario scholar and basketball star.
The former Notre Dame Catholic Secondary School student was severely injured last month while on a scholarship at Howard University in Washington, D.C., where she had obtained an undergraduate degree and a Bachelor’s degree in Biology in 2011.
“All Amanda’s hard work and perseverance paid off,” her family said. “She was accepted into her alma mater’s Physician Assistant program to achieve her graduate degree.”
“It was her hope to one day become a doctor,” her parents, Michael and Shernette, said in a release last week.
They said Amanda’s life changed forever in March while she and a friend were on their way to attend a movie to celebrate spring break.
According to reports, Amanda was injured after a car she mistakenly thought was a car-pooling taxi service that she had called, sped off as she tried to enter it. The car-pool vehicle was the same colour and model as the vehicle that hit her.
No charges were laid in connection with the incident.
“Her parents arrived at the hospital just in time to see her before she was sent for emergency surgery,” family members said. “They were told to prepare to say their goodbyes, in case Amanda experienced any complications.”
The athlete suffered a shattered vertebrae, which had to be removed. Two metal rods and 15 screws were placed in her spine. She also suffered three broken ribs, nasal fractures, severe road burns on her hands and feet and paralysis in her legs, although she does have some sensation.
The injury has posed many challenges for Michael and Shernette.
Michael works at two jobs to help pay for medical and other bills as Shernette remains by Amanda’s bedside in hospital.
“It is our hope to raise money to assist Amanda with her current and future medical expenses,” the family said. “All support is greatly appreciated, whether it is a donation or to share her story.”
Amanda graduated from Notre Dame as an honour student and Ontario scholar and received the Yvonne Flakowicz Memorial Award, given to a student who exhibits artistic ability and reaches high distinction in a sport.
After graduating four years ago, she remained at Howard working as a research assistant and medical assistant and was accepted into the Physician Assistant program.
Her younger sister, Cassandra, also earned a basketball scholarship and attends Albany State University, where she majors in psychology and has received an award for academic achievement.
One of Michael’s co-workers at Canada Post Gateway Postal Facility in Mississauga has established a campaign to fund Amanda’s medical needs.
Meanwhile, many of her friends are wishing her well as they made donations online.
“My three kids went to and graduated from Notre Dame in Brampton,” wrote Ben van den Hoogenband on gofundme. “I saw the news story and best wishes for a speedy recovery.”
Friends Hali Burns and Debora Ivey said Amanda is not being forgotten.
“You are in our thoughts and prayers! Get well soon!” Burns and Ivey wrote.
Sandra DeRuyte wished the family strength and courage.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family,” said Sandra.
Donations to help Amanda can be made by visiting http://www.gofundme.com/qtjnxg8. The family hopes to raise $100,000.