A fund has been established at a local bank for a Sulphur Springs teen critically injured in a horse riding accident to help her family with travel and related expenses during her recovery.Hayley Williams, 16-year-old daughter of Sarah LaWanda Freeman of Sulphur Springs and Charles Don Williams Jr. of Saltillo, was thrown while horseback riding on April 10. She fell and her head was struck, causing serious injury.
She was taken to Hopkins County Memorial Hospital’s Emergency Room, then later was flown to East Texas Medical Center in Tyler. For 11 days, Williams remained in critical condition in the ETMC Intensive Care Unit where she was treated for two skull fractures, a broken nasal passage, brain contusion, and bleeding and swelling of the brain. Tuesday, the Sulphur Springs High School choir and pre-drill member was moved to a private room.
Williams mother and brother, Christopher Williams, report that “Hayley is on the road to recovery and has just gotten the brain stint and breathing tube removed.”
At noon Wednesday she was being transferred to Children's Hospital House in Dallas for mental rehabilitation. Doctors told the girl’s family that she has short-term memory loss and other mental impairments that the rehabilitation should improve.
“They doctors said she’s lucky to get accepted,” said Christopher, noting the medical attention Hayley has already received and the road still ahead. “Thank God for Medicaid.”
"It’s been a roller coaster ride with ups and downs. It’s been so rough, the stress and worry and emotional upset, the ups and downs,” Sarah LaWanda Freeman noted of the 12 days since her daughter was injured, adding that just when they get a bit of relief from one medical issue, another has been raised to replace it. She said the constant strain often leaves her feeling sick to her stomach, like today, the process of getting her daughter transferred to Dallas and settled there. "I’m in way over my head. This is the worst time of my life.”
However, both Freeman and Christopher noted that the prayer and support of friends, family, churches and even people Hayley has never met have been a big comfort through the difficult days waiting for improvements. Even her older brother Dalton Freeman, was given an emergency leave from the Army so he could drive from Kentucky to Tyler after being notified of Hayley’s injury.
“We’ve had so many people call and tell me or my mother or other family members that they’re praying for Hayley or their church has added her to the prayer list and another church and another,” Freeman said, noting that even other people waiting with their family members on the third floor ICU waiting area at ETMC have been kind enough to add Hayley to their prayers as well. In fact, it’s through the generosity of one such person that a fund was established to help Hayley.
The wife of a man who had been in the ICU, but was able to go home, before leaving donated money to Hayley’s family to help out with travel expenses. That money, coupled with funds donated by others was used to put down the $50 amount required to start a benefit account at City National Bank, Freeman said.
Hayley’s mother has been at the hospital as much as her health and limited transportation allows.
She plans to stay with her during her rehab, but costs and transportation are still a challenge. Freeman, who wasn’t able to start CNA school on April 14 as planned due to her daughter’s condition, has been relying on the generosity of other family members to get her to and from the Tyler hospital getting to Dallas will be an even bigger challenge.
Donations to help with expenses for the family’s travel may be made at City National Bank to the Christopher Williams account for Hayley Williams or may be made by mentioning the Benefit Account for Hayley Williams, or may be placed in collection jars which will be put out at local discount stores and gas stations beginning Wednesday.
Anyone who would like to help with transportation for Freeman or other family members, which also include older brother Jeff Freeman of Sulphur Springs, may contact Freeman’s mother, Irene Hall Belcher, to make arrangements.
For updates on Hayley’s condition, contact Belcher at 903-582-2327. Cards and well wishes may be sent to Hayley, care of Irene Hall Belcher, 11413 Highway 11 West, Sulphur Springs, TX 75482.
— Kim Rogers, with the retail and Internet advertising division for the News-Telegram and myssnews.com contributed to this story.
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