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Hope 4 Hannah: Friends, family of injured teen raise funds

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By Erin L. McCoy

Dozens of friends and family members of 14-year-old Hannah Hamric gathered Friday at Hope for Hannah, a benefit to help cover ongoing medical costs for the teen, who remains in a coma after being hit by a truck Jan. 29.

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The Nelson County High School freshman is undergoing rigorous therapy and is making progress, said Michelle Lovvorn, a family friend who organized the event with Coletta Zurschmeide.

“They’ve been doing some very intense therapy with her and they’ve been working on getting her out of [the coma],” Lovvorn said. “She’s doing good. She’s better than she was.”

Hamric was recently moved to the Home of the Innocents in Louisville after stints at Kosair Children’s Hospital, then the Frazier Rehab Institute.

Hamric suffered a severe head injury when, witnesses say, she ran onto North Third Street near the intersection with Forrest Avenue, chasing a basketball. She was able to avoid being hit by one vehicle before she appeared to slip on the asphalt, sliding beneath the rear wheels of a 2003 Ford Ranger. The truck dragged her 10-15 feet, police reported at the time.

Immediately following the accident, Hamric underwent surgery to close a laceration on the side of her head and had a second surgery to remove a section of her skull to relieve pressure on her brain.

“She was in a medically induced coma when the accident first happened but then they took her off all the medications,” Lovvorn explained.

Her condition has been slowly improving since then.

“She has her eyes open but she’s still in the coma,” Lovvorn said. When Hamric was at Frazier, she could move one arm and one leg. “It’s just a waiting game now. It’s going to take time and it’s going to take patience.”

Sitting at a corner table at Hope for Hannah, four of Hamric’s friends from NCHS sold black shirts with pink writing — “Hope 4 Hannah Benefit: April 27, 2012” — along with a photo of their friend.

“It was like a dream at first,” said 14-year-old Tiffany Hardin.

“It’s different without her,” said Alex Ballard, also 14.

Ballard and Hardin, along with Anna Rogers, 15, and Alexis Hurst, 15, have been able to visit Hamric in Louisville.

“She used to basically live at my house. She was at my house all the time,” Hurst remembered. They pointed out Hamric’s boyfriend, 16-year-old Mason Curtsinger, who was also at the event.

Debbie Driver and her friends from Faith Chapel in Louisville manned a booth to sell cakes for the cause. Driver remembered how Hamric visited her son, Erick Pierce, while he was in the hospital. She and her son have visited Hamric, too, bringing her a rabbit around Easter time.

“She is an angel,” Driver said.

The roughly 100 people who attended the event Friday night were able to raise a substantial amount of money, according to Lovvorn. The funds will help pay Hamric’s medical bills, and will help her mother, Mary Hamric, with transportation costs.

“She’s not giving up. She’s there every day,” Lovvorn said. “That’s her only child.”

Friday’s fundraiser at the Old Kentucky Home American Legion Post 121 Hall featured food donated by a number of businesses and individuals, including Handy Food Mart, Lee’s Famous Recipe, Boone’s Butcher Shop, Norma Sims and Helen Carey. Local band Lowdown performed, and Nicole Smith of Grooming by Nicole, where Mary Hamric works, donated a miniature Australian shepherd puppy for auction. A number of other auction items were also donated.

Donations can be made at Town & Country Bank and Trust on the Hope for Hannah benefit account, under the name of Hamric’s grandfather, David Dewayne Bishop.

ERIN L. MCCOY can be contacted at emccoy@kystandard.com.