SURREY — The family of a young woman who broke her neck is being given a financial boost by her fellow gymnasts and others in the gymnastics community.
Along with some friends, Alanna Jones was climbing a tree in the Guildford area last August when the branch she was holding snapped off, resulting in a fall of a more than 20 feet. The 21-year-old was paralyzed when she hit the ground.
“It’s called a C4 injury, and she is getting some feeling in her upper arms now,” explained Shelley Jones, Alanna’s mother. “She can move her shoulders but otherwise, she’s paralyzed.”
Since birth, Alanna has been going to the Newton-area gym operated by Surrey Gymnastic Society (SGS). “Right after she was born, we used to hang out there watching her older sisters (Kelsey and Kristy),” Shelley recalled.
Alanna began recreational gymnastics at age three, and was competitive by age five. She retired from competition just two months before the accident that left her paralyzed, and had spent her summer teaching young gymnasts at SGS.
On Monday (Dec. 14), an online fundraising campaign was launched by John Carroll, the gym’s head coach, to help Alanna’s family pay for mounting costs associated with her ongoing rehabilitation. As of Thursday morning, just three days in, the GoFundMe drive has raised more than $10,000 of its $100,000 goal.
“It’s just amazing,” Shelley said of the fundraising effort, which is posted at Gofundme.com/ssew27yc.
“We’ll have to do some renovations to the house and she’ll have to get all the equipment – a wheelchair, the lifts, all that stuff, right, and insurance only covers so much.”
Alanna, who fought for her life for three months while at Vancouver General Hospital, is currently a patient at GF Strong Rehabilitation Centre in Vancouver.
Shelley wonders if last summer’s hot weather played a part in Alanna’s fall from that tree.
“It was so dry outside, and maybe that branch wouldn’t have broken if it hadn’t been so dry from the heat,” she said ruefully.
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