Local family seeks help for daughter

Local family seeks help for daughter

Kellie Dutton will never forget the day her life changed forever, as a near head-on collision last September left her wondering if she’d see her best friend, Tori Earley, again.

“I wanted to help her and I was like really terrified. I kept thinking, like, am I gonna lose my best friend now or later,” asked Dutton.

Wagner’s mother remembers rushing to the scene where she found her daughter with a serious head injury. Surgeons relieved a brain bleed then sent her to Springfield for more surgery. After 11 days in the hospital, she was released in time to celebrate her 16th birthday at home.

“Had finally got back to school, the week of Thanksgiving, but she had a CSF leak, which is spinal fluid that was leaking out of her nose for three months. They thought it would seal itself,” said Earley’s mother, Kathy Wagner.

Yet another surgery, but then, another setback.

“The next morning, she woke up, she was throwing up, had a headache that wouldn’t go away, started running a fever. It was 104 when she got to the hospital,” said Wagner.

An infection led to pneumonia and staff infection. Ventilator dependent, and appearing to be brain dead, the family prepared to donate her organs and say good-bye, but then, a Christmas miracle.

“She finally opened her eyes on Christmas Eve, and from there it’s been baby steps,” explained Wagner.

When Dutton heard the good news, she was ecstatic.

“I like jumped out of my seat and I was like ‘Yes!’ Like, I wanted to go see her right then and there,” said Dutton.

Wagner is still on a long road to recovery as a quadriplegic, though, as her family prepares to send her to a rehab center and needs financial help to fight growing medical costs.

“We’ve heard really good things about Ranken Jordan and their rehab, so everything’s possible,” said Wagner.

Dutton knows Tori loves horses and hopes to help her find joy when she finally makes her way home.

“I wanna be there for her, to help her walk again and all that stuff,” said Dutton.

If you’d like to follow Tori’s story, you can visit this Facebook page.

To donate, you can visit this link.