Avon motorcycle accident victim making steps toward recovery | PostIndependent.com

Avon motorcycle accident victim making steps toward recovery

Melanie Wong
The Vail Daily
Post Independent
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

AVON, Colorado – Egle Petrauskaite, 26, definitely believes in miracles.

Earlier this year, she feared she would never walk again without the aid of crutches, and she worried about how she would ever work or care for her two young daughters, Nia, 3, and Tessa, 1.

Petrauskaite, who moved to Avon almost six years ago, was badly injured in an August 2008 motorcycle accident that left her leg shattered and that killed her friend, Vail Valley local Hugo Ascencio-Garcia. After extensive surgery and the scars to prove it, Petrauskaite was told her leg wasn’t healing correctly, and that another surgery would be required.

That was in early 2009, and Petrauskaite, limited to hobbling around on crutches since her accident, had no idea where she would find the money for a second surgery. Medicaid didn’t cover the surgery, and she had no work, and no car.

However, since then, not only has she taken her first steps without crutches, but she’s become a believer in the kindness of strangers.

Keith McCarroll, a physical therapist at Ascent Physical Therapy in Avon, has donated his services to help Petrauskaite with rehabilitation since her accident. McCarroll approached his church, Eagle River Presbyterian, about helping Petrauskaite. To his surprise, a church member, who wished to remain anonymous, came forward offering to pay the $5,000 down payment for the surgery.

“It didn’t shock me that someone came forward, but I was surprised at this woman in particular – not because of her heart, but because she’s not a wealthy person,” McCarroll said. “She’s a longtime local and a working person. She said this was something she wanted to do, that it was a calling for her.”

Petrauskaite said she was shocked when McCarroll told her the news.

“I couldn’t believe it,” she said. “In my head I had been thinking, ‘How am I going to work, it’s going to be so hard not being able to walk.’ Then (McCarroll) said someone wanted to help. I asked him how much, and he asked what I needed. I said, ‘$5,000,’ and he said, ‘It’s done.’ It was like a miracle.”

Her second surgery, completed in March, required taking bone from her hip and putting it in her leg. So far, it seems the surgery was successful, and Petrauskaite walked without crutches for the first time in June. Now, her leg, stiff and emaciated from months of not being used, is getting stronger each day, she said.

“It was a slow process,” she said of getting back on her feet. “I’d always say, ‘Today’s going to be the one,’ but it never was. Then one day the doctor came out and said, ‘So I heard you want to walk again.'”

At first when the crutches were taken away from her, despite months of dreaming about the moment, she was unable to take a step without help, she said.

Only after she took her first steps did her doctor tell her that the majority of people with her injuries not only never walk again, but usually require amputation. Now she can limp around for short distances and works weekly with McCarroll doing different exercises to loosen her ankle and regain muscle strength.

Standing in the therapy office, gingerly doing small lunges with her injured leg, Petrauskaite said she wants to thank all the people who have helped her – from McCarroll, to her anonymous donor, to many others who have offered their services, money and support.

“I’m doing this and stepping my first steps because people around are helping me. I don’t know how I can ever pay these people,” she said. “Miracles just keep happening to me.”

But she is not yet at the end of the road to recovery. She will need to pay for the rest of her second surgery, and a third surgery will be needed to remove some screws in her knee. She hopes to regain all her walking abilities, but said she is hesitant to get her hopes up.

“I’m not looking too far to the future because I’ve been planning too much and getting disappointed,” she said. “I’m just concentrating on getting better so that I can take my kids to the park and to the pool. It feels great to be able to do that.”


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