Christina Morris can’t read right now, but she’s looking forward to the day she can turn on her new laptop and take in the hundreds of Facebook comments written to her in the past two months.
Morris, daughter of Indian Trail Town Council member Darlene Luther, nearly died in a South Charlotte car crash on Interstate 485 in September. Witnesses have said a man driving a silver SUV hit Morris’ Honda Civic in an apparent act of road rage.
Morris’ car veered off the interstate and hit a tree.
Before the crash, Morris was studying at Central Piedmont Community College, with plans to transfer to a school in Massachusetts – where her family is from – to study pharmacy.
Morris, 21, also loves to draw and paint.
Six weeks after the crash, she has checked out of the hospital and returned to Luther’s Indian Trail house, where she had moved a week before her accident because it was closer to her job and community college classes.
“It’s unbelievably amazing where she is now” in terms of her recovery, Luther said.
Doctors said they don’t know how much Morris will recover, Luther said, but they are optimistic based on how quickly she’s healed.
In the wreck, Morris suffered two punctured lungs, broken ribs, a carotid artery dissection, a significant stroke on the right side of her brain, increased cranial pressure and a brain injury.
Morris also suffered a series of strokes to the right side of the brain that affected her vision and the use of her left arm. Her right arm was shattered and is still in a cast.
Morris can walk, however, because her lower body wasn’t injured.
Her family set up a Facebook page after her accident, updating readers regularly on her status. Most posts were followed by long lists of comments, which Luther and others read to Morris while she was in the hospital.
“She would just beam,” Luther said. “I think it’s important for people to know the impact of (their comments).”
Morris said she can’t get out and thank people herself or write notes right now but that the community support – everything from local businesses bringing food to the hospital to community fundraisers for her – has helped her get through the ordeal.
She said she especially enjoys comments about how her experience has increased people’s faith in God.
“People tell me they were skeptical about how they felt about it,” Morris said. “Now people are saying they see the power of prayer and how powerful God is.”
“A lot of people have commented that she inspired them,” Luther said.
Morris remains upbeat, attributing her positive outlook and thankful attitude to her faith.
She still has difficulty with depth perception and needs help with everyday tasks. She can’t lift her arms high enough to brush her teeth or hair. Putting on pants can be difficult because she has a hard time perceiving where each pants leg is.
“She looks great sitting here, and she looks beautiful, but she has a lot of work to do to be independent,” Luther said.
Morris’ family has been encouraged by her progress. Morris can move one finger on her left hand, although she can’t grip with all her fingers. She has regained inflection in her voice and recently had the last medical device – metal pins in her right arm – removed.
While she once loved to be around people, Morris said she now often has to cut short her time with others because she becomes overwhelmed easily. Dealing with her limitations also can be frustrating, she said.
The family is still hoping the police will find the driver of the vehicle that hit Morris, in large part because of issues with insurance. The insurance on Morris’ car, a 1998 Honda Civic, will not cover the loss of her car or hospital bills because it was a hit-and-run crash, Luther said.
Morris also faces recurring costs with her recovery, including paying for medicine, doctor visits, therapy and unexpected costs, such as a gym membership she needs for exercise prescribed by her physical therapist.
Several local businesses, including Bonfire Bar & Grill in Indian Trail and Wild Wings Café in Ayrsley, have hosted fundraisers for Morris. Her grandmother, Cathy Zamer, quit her job in Massachusetts and moved to Indian Trail to help the day after the crash.
Morris’ aunt, Kerri Beauchesne, makes and sells Bina Bracelets to raise money for medical expenses. The bracelets, made from yellow acai beads – Morris’ favorite color – are named after Morris’ lifelong nickname.
“In a way, even though this is really, really bad, I’m not even mad,” said Morris. “So much good has come from this. I feel like it would be useless to hold that aggression or hate.”
For updates about Morris, the Bina Bracelet and upcoming fundraisers, visit www.helpforchristina.com. Bina Bracelets also are sold at Patina Home and Gift 13007 East Independence Blvd. in Matthews.