Fund created for teen seriously hurt in church van crash | News
SARASOTA, Florida -- For the family of a 17-year-old who was seriously injured in a crash on I-4 this weekend, the battle is not only tough emotionally, but also financially.
Sierra Johnson doesn't have insurance to cover medical costs as she's treated for brain injuries at Lakeland Regional Medical Center, so a fund has been started for her and her family.
You can donate through PayPal on a new website created for her, or at any Bank of America branch to the "Contribution Account for Sierra Johnson."
On Saturday at 8 p.m., a vigil will be held in her honor at her church, Journey Assembly Church of God in Bradenton.
Her fight began on Saturday, as she and fellow members of the church traveled to the Rock the Universe concert in Orlando. Around mile marker 55 on I-4, a tire blew out on the van they were traveling in. It flipped into the median, and she landed on her head.
At Manatee School for the Arts in Palmetto, where she is a senior, she's known as a dedicated singer and dancer who loves her family, church, and classmates.
"The biggest thing with Sierra is that she's always smiling, always singing, always has a positive thought on her mind," says MSA Assistant Principal Terence Devine.
Hopes of healing for Sierra even spread across the airwaves, from Cape Coral to Lake City, on The Joy FM. Throughout the day, DJs updated listeners on her status and sent out prayers that a miracle will come.
A Facebook page started in her name on Sunday already has more than 5,000 supporters. And Sierra's family says they're grateful for every prayer and kind word that's come their way.
"My heart cries out thank you," says her cousin, Lynnea Benoit. "We can't thank people enough for caring about her like we do. We believe that there's going to be a big miracle, she's going to come out of this, and she's going to be able to share the love of God even more than she already has."
Doctors tell them the trauma has now impacted the part of her brain that controls cognitive skills, but luckily, not the area that affects motor skills. Now, the family is hoping the swelling in her brain will go down. Until it does, doctors can't insert tools to help alleviate any additional pressure.
"It's a little overwhelming to see her in that state, but I know in my heart it's going to be okay," Benoit says.