Photo courtesy of Marti Lukralle
Friends of Huntington Station Latin Quarter, or HSLQ, has raised over $10,000 for Carolyn Lukralle, a survivor of a major auto accident in October. Lukralle, a 20-year-old athlete, has been living at Cold Spring Hills Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation since January 14. Even after several spinal surgeries and intensive therapy, she is an incomplete quadriplegic. To live with her family in Huntington Station, she will need adaptive devices not covered by insurance.
Carolyn Lukralle: The Athlete
Accustomed to an active lifestyle working at Stony Point Dude Ranch 20 miles from Lake George, Lukralle described nursing home life this way: “I’m 20. At 20, who wants to be stuck laying around with old people who don’t do anything?”
Before the accident, Lukralle enjoyed playing many sports, including military-style mud-runs involving miles-long obstacle courses. In a sense, the mud-runs involve the same spirit as HSLQ’s community fundraiser for Carolyn. “It’s about… random strangers coming together. Even though you don’t know them, they help each other,” Lukralle said.
Now, Lukralle uses her energy for her physical and occupational therapy sessions, which she described as “fantastic.” After much hard work, Lukralle can use a platform walker, with some support from another person. She described her right leg mobility as “decent,” and her right hand mobility as “60% of normal.” “I think my handwriting’s neater now than before,” she added.
When Can Carolyn Lukralle Go Home?
Although Lukralle would need an electric wheelchair to travel independently, she only has access to a manual wheelchair at the nursing home. In addition, her family’s Huntington Station home will need modifications, such as a ramp and a wheelchair-accessible bathroom. She will also need a generator to power her bed and wheelchair in case of a power outage. The bed provides support, allowing her to roll over with less pain.
How HSLQ Is Helping
The necessary home modifications will cost $32,000 in total, and that is Friends of Huntington Station Latin Quarter’s (HSLQ’s) fundraising goal, explained Treasurer Laura Palacios. Her husband, Xavier, and his partner, Ed Perez, founded the organization four years ago to promote neighborhood revitalization, safe streets, and youth, senior, and educational programs. Palacios has known Lukralle’s mother for many years, and when she learned of Lukralle’s situation, she wanted to help. HSLQ’s motto is “It’s Up to Us,” and Palacios felt it was up to them to help Lukralle. “A lot of people promised they were going to do something… but nobody stepped up to the plate,” Palacios said.
Palacios reached out to the media and community contacts she has developed during her many years volunteering. Lukralle and her parents also reached out to family and friends. As a result, strangers and friends alike came together in support of Lukralle. In fact, Palacios said the fundraiser has “gone viral,” and that they have received donations from other states.
Lukralle expressed gratitude for the fundraiser and for her parents’ support. “My parents have been with me since day one. They spend the nights with me… I couldn’t ask for any better,” Lukralle said.
Advice and Insights from HSLQ’s Treasurer
“Good organizational skills are a necessity. Spreading the word to friends and family and utilizing social media is a must,” Palacios said. “My husband and I are good partners in that I have a financial background and he is a community leader. Between the two of us, we are able to work together and help causes that we believe in,” she added.
How to Help
Carolyn Lukralle’s fundraising page is on Crowdrise. “Crowdrise is a transparent fundraising page which allows each donor to see a list of the contributions made by others. HSLQ will then present Carolyn with a check for the total amount raised, minus any fees incurred by Crowdrise. HSLQ will not take any fee for this fundraiser,” Palacios explained.