Hit-and-run victim finds healing in community support
Heather Elliott returns home after nearly two weeks in hospital
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) – A 17-year-old girl hospitalized after a hit-and-run that nearly killed her, is back home with her family.
After nearly two weeks at the University of Arizona Medical Center, Heather Elliott is home in her own bed.
“It feels amazing,” said Heather about being at home. “I really can’t stand being away from home for very long. I get homesick. I miss my family.”
The Pima Community College student has a back brace to prevent her from twisting, bending and lifting. A result of recent surgery; doctors implanted pins and rods to stabilize her fractured spine.
“I feel pretty good right now,” she said optimistically.
Her father is able to stay at home with her, thanks to the generous donations of his co-workers. His friends at Union Pacific Railroad donated their vacation days to him.
“I don't even know how to express thank you,” said Chris Perfetto. “I don't think there are words that would really put into what I feel, the emotions that I feel for what this entire railroad family and community at large has done for us and has meant to us. It's been phenomenal.”
The vacation days will allow Perfetto to be at home with his family through the New Year and get paid.
“We want to help each other and we're like a family out there,” said Perfetto’s co-worker Ron Sprague.
Sprague said there is an agreement being worked out to donate more days to Perfetto in 2012.
"It is nice to see people helping my family out. It has had an impact on me," said Heather.
Heather will begin physical therapy the first of the year.
The family of eight says they live simply and only have one vehicle, which he said is now a big concern. With Heather’s injuries, Perfetto said she won’t be able to get into the truck to go to rehabilitation.
“Getting into a truck is too tall,” said Perfetto. “Getting into a car is too low.”
The family is looking to purchase an affordable mini-van to ensure his daughter can go to all of her appointments.
The driver that hit Heather has not been caught. If you have any information on her case, call 88-CRIME or 9-1-1.