Clarksville Community Rallies Around Paralyzed Girl
By Emily Luxen
CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. - A community rallies around a 7-year-old girl paralyzed in a car accident.
On February 17th, 2011, Emily Jean Mills was asleep in the backseat of her aunt's car when it was struck head-on by a drunk driver. She suffered many internal injuries, including one to her spine that left her paralyzed with only a 2% chance of recovery.
Ever since, her outlook has remained positive, and her story has inspired others.
"For her being 7 years old, I can't imagine going through what she did, and coming out as happy as she is," said Emily's mom, Stephanie Rutherford. "She is incredible."
A teacher at West Creek Elementary school heard Emily's story and organized the latest fundraiser. A silent auction, T-shirt sales, and donations at a talent show and concert all went towards helping Emily's family with medical expenses. Students from West Creek performed in the talent show, and singer/songwriter and Clarksville native Paul Sikes took the stage to help, as well.
"She's such a special person and brave little girl," said Heather Smith, who organized the event. "These are the kind of people you want to help."
The goal is to raise $100,000 so Emily can attend a stem cell research program next month in Texas and the Frazier Rehabilitation Institute in Louisville next summer. Her mother said she believes her daughter will defy the odds and walk again.
"They'll take her bone marrow from her hip and inject it into her spine to hopefully rejuvenate the cells that were damaged and hopefully we can get her to walk again," said Rutherford. "I'm hopeful."
Rutherford said the support from the community has meant a lot.
"I'm so grateful," said Rutherford. "I can't express how thankful I am to all these people for helping out."