Wreck leaves GSHS grad in coma
Post Independent Staff
In this season of giving, Marla Gettman and her family need your help.
Gettman, 31, daughter of Mary and Leo Williams of Glenwood Springs, was critically injured in a motor vehicle accident on Berthod Pass Dec. 13. Gettman suffered a severe head injury and multiple fractures. Currently, she is in a coma in critical condition at St. Anthony’s Central Hospital in Denver.
Gettman, a third-grade teacher at Glacier Parks Elementary School in Brighton, and her boyfriend, Rob Sousa, were on their way to Winter Park to go snowboarding when the accident occurred.
“They were traveling over Berthod Pass when they hit a patch of ice,” explained Sylvia Lincoln, a close friend of the family. Lincoln said Sousa, who was driving, slid on ice and hit a guard rail. The vehicle turned over, slid into a ravine and hit a tree.
Mark Williams, Gettman’s brother, was with his sister at St. Anthony’s on Monday. He said although Gettman is still in a coma, she is “more active,” and is “opening her eyes” but is not focusing.
“Marla’s injuries will require extensive and ongoing rehabilitation,” said Lincoln.
Mark Williams said Sousa received minor scrapes and cuts and was treated and released from the hospital the day of the accident.
Mary Williams is a nurse and, along with Mark and her husband Leo, was at her daughter’s bedside in the intensive care unit at St. Anthony’s on Monday.
“Marla has had six surgeries since the accident,” she said, “and she’ll have an undetermined number of surgeries in the future.”
Gettman’s mother also said her daughter is facing probably “a year to a year and a half or more” in a rehabilitative hospital once she is released from St. Anthony’s.
Even though Gettman is fully insured, she and her family are facing enormous medical bills. Mary Williams said that, because of the extent of her injuries, the limit on vehicle insurance was reached the third day Gettman was in the hospital. And the care and therapy Marla will need will likely exceed her health insurance’s limit of coverage.
To help with the family’s ongoing medical expenses, a benefit fund has been set up at Alpine Bank.
The Williams family has lived in Glenwood Springs for 30 years. Leo Williams recently retired from the Glenwood Springs High School, where he was a school counselor. Mary just retired from the Child and Family Counseling Center in Glenwood Springs, where she was a clinical nurse. She also teaches at Colorado Mountain College.
Gettman, who now lives in Northglenn, is a 1991 honors graduate of Glenwood Springs High School. She was a member of the Sopris Barracudas swim team for 11 years, and coached the team for several years. She received a bachelor’s degree in psychology at the University of Colorado at Boulder, received her teaching certificate at Metro State College in Denver, and completed her master’s degree in education from the University of Colorado – Boulder. She’s taught for six years, and also assists in musical education, accompanying the school choir on piano.
Lincoln said Marla is known for her love of children and animals, her musical abilities and “friendly, beautiful smile.”
Her spirit of volunteerism empowers those she touches,” she said. “Marla’s optimism and strength as a person give her family faith in her recovery.”
How to help
Donations to help defray Marla’s medical expenses can be made at any Alpine Bank, care of: The Marla Gettman Benefit Fund, account #1010299278.
Cards for Marla, her parents Mary and Leo Williams and brother Mark Williams can be sent to: Yaffe House, 3700 West 17th Ave., Denver CO 81204
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