Classmates, teacher pay it forward to teen in tragic crash
Rebecca before the crash (Source: CBS 5 News)
Rebecca's mother receiving the $500 Pay It Forward money from Rebecca's classmates and teacher. (Source: CBS 5 News)
PHOENIX (CBS5) -
A Valley girl was crossing the street in front of her school when suddenly she was struck head-on by a pickup truck.
The collision was so severe, she was internally decapitated and wasn't expected to survive the trip to the hospital, but she has made an amazing recovery.
"She wanted to walk, and I wanted to take her," Rebecca Rostron's mother Jan Breck-Heaton said.
Breck-Heaton wishes she could go back in time, if only for a moment, to change a decision that changed the course of her daughter's life.
"I remember calling a friend and saying what a horrible mom I am. Why didn't I take her to school? Why didn't I hug her five more seconds or a minute longer and maybe this wouldn't have happened," Breck-Heaton said.
Rebecca, a sophomore at Raymond S. Kellis High School, was walking to see a faculty talent show when another classmate in a pickup truck hit her at full speed.
Her mother arrived just after the ambulance.
"She was just lying in the road and I ran to her and I was like, 'Becca, I'm here, Mommy's here and they pulled me back," Breck-Heaton said.
"I didn't think she was going to make it," Breck-Heaton said.
The injuries and broken bones are too numerous to list but the most severe, the break that easily could have killed her, her skull separated from her spinal column. Somehow, her spinal cord didn't snap.
"I just can't believe that she's made it this far and I am so excited and so happy, but there were dark days when we really weren't sure," Deb Moore, Rebecca's marketing teacher said.
Before the crash, Moore was helping Rebecca start up her own business selling painted rock art on the internet.
Rebecca's fellow students wanted her to have a head start when she fully recovers so they are painting and selling their own rocks to raise money for Rebecca's treatment.
"She makes us laugh, and she's so fun and she's so entertaining, and she brings joy to us and light to our dark days," Moore said.
After weeks in a coma, and serious doubt as to whether she would live or speak again, Rebecca is back.
"She opened her eyes and you would have thought that I won the lottery because I was so excited," her mom told CBS 5 News.
"I knew then that this was going to be OK. I didn't know what the outcome would be, but I knew I had my baby back," Breck-Heaton said.
"Knowing her as I do, I wouldn't be surprised if a year from now she isn't running to hug people and thank them herself. And that's my hope and that's my prayer," Breck-Heaton said.
Rebecca still has a long way to go. Doctors believe there is little to no brain damage regarding who she is, but her struggle will be with movement and motor function. It will likely take years of rehabilitation and that will of course be expensive.
If you would like to help in that effort, visit her fundraising page at Youcaring.com.
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