LIMA — At this time Cierra and her fiance had everything to be thankful for: JJ, the couple’s sweet 12-year-old daughter, the health of their family, successful careers and the promise of a merry Christmas.
Cierra’s fiance attempted to help a family member out of a jam, but it ended in a tragic car accident that took his aunt and cousin’s lives and left him with survivor’s remorse and a broken neck that has required two surgeries.
“The biggest thing I have learned from all of this and the thing I would want anyone to remember is to not take things for granted,” Cierra said. “You can have anything in the world you want and think nothing can happen to you and in the next blink of your eye it can all be taken that quick.”
The ramifications from the accident are still being felt by the family. Cierra’s fiance is still off work after suffering from what is commonly known as a “hangman’s fracture” which in simplest forms is a break on both sides of the C2 vertebra that protects your spinal cord. Often these injuries cause paralysis.
Doctors initially tried the surgical option that was the least invasive and provided the quickest recovery time by going in to make the repair from the front of the neck. The problem with going in from the front is it isn’t typically as effective and in Cierra’s fiance’s case it required a second surgery, this one going from the back, that slowed the recovery time and insisted on time off from work for both him and Cierra, who is a Certified Nursing Assistant and who helped with his recovery from home.
All that time off has been a financial strain for the family, who relied on frugal cost-cutting efforts and their savings the two had accumulated over the years. With their entire savings depleted and her fiance on the mend and getting better by the day, Cierra was finally able to return to work to try to keep bills from reaching collections and late fees.
“We were lucky because when I went to work we saved my paychecks and had we not we would have lost everything,” she said. “Now that I am back to work and with all of these bills coming in it is very hard to keep us above the water especially with Christmas right around the corner.”
While they have scraped by with saving money and a little help from family and friends the one thing that Cierra will not be able to provide for JJ is the Christmas that she deserves, a happy Christmas with presents begging to be unwrapped. Not that JJ has been focused on her list for the big man in red. She has been focused on assisting in the return to health of her injured dad and helping her mom around the house wherever she can.
“JJ is our blessing,” Cierra said. “She is very helpful with doing in-home therapies and helping him to learn to walk again. She has never complained to us once about her life and how it too has been affected. She spends all her energy and time on doing well in school and asking me if I need help with dishes or if there is anything I need help with. She’s just a great child and we are thankful for having her.”
While Cierra and her family may have their hands full with the basics like keeping the water running, the gas flowing and the electricity turning on the lights and rehab equipment, those in the community who would like to help ensure JJ gets to unwrap gifts are appreciated.
Before life happened and derailed what Cierra and her fiance were building for JJ and their future family they enjoyed going bowling, skating and having family game nights. JJ is a well-rounded young lady who shares an equal love for playing basketball, art and reading and would be delighted to receive any gifts related to those interests.
According to Cierra the only thing JJ has specifically asked for are roller skates. She wears size 11 in women’s or 9 in men’s shoes. She wears a kids’ large in tops and fits in a kids size 16 pants. As far as styling or brands are concerned she tends to favor her attire off the racks of more girly and pretty parts of the store.