Serious car accident, traumatic brain injury can’t dim smile of da Vinci … – The Jackson Citizen Patriot –

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GRASS LAKE, MI – Not even a serious car accident and traumatic brain injury can diminish the ear-to-ear smile that lights up Shelby Maldonado’s face.

The gentle, kind nature that goes along with that grin also warms the hearts of the 17-year-old’s da Vinci Institute High School teachers and classmates who are rallying to help their friend and her family in their time of need.

“With Shelby there are no strangers,” said 17-year-old junior Amanda Anderson. “From the minute you meet her you are her friend.”

In the late afternoon on Dec. 21, 2012, the Ford Ranger Shelby was driving left Norvell Road at Warrior Trail outside Grass Lake and struck a tree. No one is sure what happened, but it’s possible Shelby suffered a blood clot that caused her to lose consciousness and drive off the road, said her mother Lori Maldonado.

Shelby Maldonado

Shelby Maldonado of Grass Lake smiles at her father on a cellphone screen held by her mother, Lori, as she does rehab work at the University of Michigan Milestones outpatient rehab clinic in Ann Arbor on Thursday, April 25, 2013. Maldonado was injured in a car accident in December 2012. (J. Scott Park | 4-26-13: Shelby Maldonado works to recover from car accident gallery (20 photos)

The accident occurred three days after Shelby’s mother had finished three months of rehabilitation from her own stroke.

Seeing the family’s need for help with expenses, da Vinci students organized a Bowl-A-Thon fundraiser from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday, April 29 at Airport Lanes, 3501 Wildwood Ave. Sponsorships and contributions thus far total $ 4,000.

“She’s a really nice person and she helped a lot of people out,” said sophomore Alyssa Elliott, 15. “When people found out she was in a car accident, everybody wanted to help her because she helped everyone else.”

After the accident, Shelby was taken to Ann Arbor’s C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital. Maldonado said she was first told Shelby wouldn’t make it. Then, she said, she was told Shelby had no brain activity.

“She’s proven them all wrong,” Maldonado said. “She’s not going to let this stop her. Her spirit is strong and she’s always been a fighter.”

Shelby spends five days a week in physical, occupational and speech therapy. Though she can’t speak yet, the smile she’s known for rarely leaves Shelby’s face.

She can use a spoon to eat yogurt and she can give thumbs up and thumbs down signs to answer yes and no questions.

“I can’t wait to hear her beautiful voice yell ‘Mom,’” Maldonado said.

Maldonado knows her daughter has a lot of work ahead of her to recover as much as she possibly can. She’s thankful for the students and others from the Grass Lake community who have helped their family, which also includes Shelby’s older sister Ashley, an 18-year-old Grass Lake High School senior.

“What Shelby has done so far is amazing,” Maldonado said. “Every single day she makes gains.”

Those interested in donating to the family can contact Wood or da Vinci Institute Superintendent Sandy Maxson at 796-0031. Donations also can be sent directly to Shelby Maldonado, Account 8164978, c/o CP Federal Credit Union, 1100 Clinton Road, Jackson, MI 49202-2088.

“Shelby wasn’t doing anything wrong and this horrible thing happened to her,” said junior Harley Vaughn, 17. “If any one of us would have gotten in a car accident, she would be helping us and raising as much money as she could. This is all for her. She needs our help.”

car-accident – Google News

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