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Teenage Fresno girl fights for her life after a tragic accident

Monday, March 21, 2011

A Fresno family is in the fight their life, after a tragic accident left 15-year-old Shaela Warkentin with serious brain trauma. The family is depending upon their faith and the support of friends and family to help Shaela pull through.

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It was just after 11:30 Tuesday night March 8th, Shaela Warkentin and her 20-year-old sister and a friend were coming home from youth group at Fresno's People's Church. They were waiting for the light to turn at Maroa and Barstow in Northwest Fresno, when an old model truck slammed into the back of their green Mustang.

Shaela's father says her sister and friend are still traumatized by what they saw. "In looking back they saw that her head was sort of stuck in the roof, they could just see from the jaw down." Ken Warkentin said.

The impact of the crash sent the Bullard High School sophomore through the back window. It took 45 minutes for emergency crews to literally pry her out of the wreckage.

Warkentin said, "There's a great deal of glass still in her brain and in an area that's too dangerous to remove."

Shaela's left eye was crushed beyond repair; her right eye had to be sewn back together. But after several hours of surgery at Community Regional Medical Center Monday morning, one of Shaela's doctors gave Ken and Lisa Warkentin some good news. Their daughter had no infection, but there is a buildup of fluid in the brain.

Ken Warkentin said, "You take moment by moment, hour by hour, day by day, and you just do it."

The Warkentin's have not worked since the accident. Ken has no vacation or medical insurance through his job. But their only concern right now is for their daughter, and getting her the best care they can.

Warkentin said, "If you're going to be real about your faith. Then you have to trust that God is going to be with us through both the good and the bad."

Shaela will require many more surgeries including facial reconstruction. Her recovery could take months, even years.

Friends of Shaela's family have set up a trust fund for Shaela at Fresno Premiere Valley Bank, Account number 101-014-637.

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fresno, fresno county, fresno northwest, local, liz harrison
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