A fundraiser to help a young Huntington woman who was the victim of a terrible car accident upstate has gone from being the work of close family friends to a community-wide effort recently.
This month Friends of Huntington Station Latin Quarter (HSLQ) www.hslq.org has stepped into the mix to help raise funds for Carolyn Lukralle, a lifelong resident of Huntington, 2010 Walt Whitman High School graduate, and popular athlete in the community.
On Oct. 30, the 20-year old Lukralle was in a serious car accident 20 miles north of Lake George. She was taken to Glens Falls Hospital, then transferred to Albany Medical Center, where she spent 15 days in intensive care. On Nov. 15 she was transferred to Mt. Sinai Medical Center in New York, where she spent two weeks in rehab, followed by another surgery on her C2 to T2 vertebrae to help support her back as she grows older.
Upon her discharge she was diagnosed as an incomplete quadriplegic.
“Carolyn has now been at Cold Spring Hills Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Woodbury since January 14,” said Laura Palacios, who stepped in to help the Lukralle family after she learned about the accident. “She has some movement in her right foot, and we are praying constantly that she makes an outstanding recovery.”
According to Palacios -- whose own daughters study gymnastics at Gold Medal Gymnastics from Carolyn’s mother Marti -- the one thing that Carolyn wants so much right now is to be able to come back home and live with her family in Huntington.
“In order to be able to do that, she must have a handicapped accessible bathroom, entrance ramp to her home and a generator to power her bed in case of emergency,” she notes.
The price tag for that, however, is somewhere around $32,000.
That’s where HSLQ comes in.
Laura enlisted the assistance of HSLQ and the organization took the project on as a fundraiser.
“We went onto crowdrise and established a website for donations,” said Xavier Palacios, one of the founders of the 4-year old Huntington Station group, and Laura‘s husband. “It tells her story, explains what HSLQ is, and how to donate. In five days, we raised $4020.”
“It’s breathtaking,” said Marti Lukralle, “it means a lot that they’re doing this for us. My goal is to get Carolyn home, and of course somewhere down the road, get her walking again. Whatever they can do to support that through fundraising will help.”
Helping to raise funds for Carolyn Lukralle is just the latest project tackled by a group which has been active locally. Each year in December HSLQ has a toy drive --in 2012 they collected over 800 toys and distributed them to 214 children in 90 families. They are instrumental in production of the Hispanic Heritage Fair at Manor Field, which annually draws thousands. There are regular street cleanup drives, and other ways to encourage people to take ownership of the community. Xavier Palacios even built a wrestling room in the basement of his office -- from which three of Huntington High School’s wrestling state titles have come.
“We’ve targeted the Latino community with our organization, but thought this project shows that our community is reaching out to help others,” said Xavier “We’re a community that’s growing and is a fixture in Huntington, and it’s important that we make this kind of effort. It’s only the right thing to do, and it’s where the heart of the Latino community is. We’re grateful to live in this country, and want to be able to give back.”
For more information or to help, visit http://www.crowdrise.com/letsbringcarolynhome/fundraiser/friendsofhuntingtons#sthash.WzEz35br.dpuf