As millions of Americans spend Thursday giving thanks, the friends and family of a paralyzed teenaged gymnast are hopeful people will give just a little bit more this Thanksgiving: $1.
Jacoby Miles, 15-year-old Washington gymnast, remains hospitalized in Seattle after a training accident on Saturday left her paralyzed from the chest down. She underwent surgery at Harborview Medical Center. She now faces a long and difficulty road of rehabilitation her loved ones hope will allow her to one day walk again.
Injured gymnast Jacoby Miles with former clubmate Rachel Heckroth (Centenary College)
Miles' support team launched a Thanksgiving Day "Be One in a Million" campaign (#B1namillion) to raise money toward her recovery. The team will use social media to spread the word across Twitter, Facebook and other social medai to get as many people as possible to donate $1 each toward her recovery.
"If everyone will donate just $1 to the TEAM JACOBY FUND we will raise enough money to get her the best doctors and the best treatment money can buy," her parents wrote on the family's new blog. "Let's give this ANGEL a chance to walk again."
The family says they have been touched by the support that has poured in from all over, including Tweets from from Olympic gymnastics champions Nastia Liukin, Gabby Douglas and Alexandra Raisman. Miles' friends, teammates and coaches are busy setting up multiple fundraisers to ensure Miles has the best medical care and facilities possible.
"We will continue to wait for the swelling to go down and pray for her to regain more feeling," read an update on her family's blog on Monday. "Today was difficult for her emotionally as the reality of the situation began to set in. We are overwhelmed and very grateful for the outpouring of support from the community."
Miles, a Level 9 gymnast from Roach Gymnastics in Puywallup, Wash., was practicing a double back off uneven bars into the pit on Saturday. She became disoriented and landed on her neck on a mat placed above the loose foam, and later told coach Melanie Roach she simply "got lost" midway through the dismount.
Roach, a former gymnast turned Olympic weightlifter, and her husband, Washington State Rep. Dan Roach, are spearheading fundraising efforts.
Melanie Roach's book, "Lift: Enjoying the Journey of Life," coincidentally was released on Amazon.com the day of the accident. She announced that 100 percent of the proceeds from the book will go toward Miles' treatment.
The gym has scheduled a "Photo with Santa" day on Dec. 10 and a fundraising auction on Dec. 17th. Emerald City Gymnastics in Redmond, Wash., is reaching out to gymnasts across the country for a "Get Well" card campaign.
"We believe in you!" said a post on the Facebook page. "Gymnasts are fighters — they don't ever give up. You can do this Jacoby!"
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