Coming together for 8th grader hurt in crash

GRANGER, Ind. --- Community members came together for a "Give Back" event Monday afternoon at Paddy Shack in Granger to help cover the medical bills for 13-year-old Guiliana Mendez who was hurt in a crash involving a drunk driver last month. The eighth grader at St. Pius has been a competitive dancer for several years and is now facing the challenge of never walking again following severe spinal injuries from the accident.

“You know it’s just really a shock. I have a senior in high school. I have my 8th grader that’s my son and another 5th grader and I can’t even imagine what she must be going through," said Becky Kintzle, a mother of one of Guiliana's classmates.

The accident prompted Guiliana’s community at St. Pius to come together to help the Mendez family with the financial impacts they're facing during her rehabilitation process.

“We just want to show her support that her family and everybody that we are thinking of her and we care for her and we look forward to seeing her back at St.Pius and at St.Joe next year," said Kintzle.

A portion of every sale from the fundraising event will be given to the Mendez family to help cover her mounting medical bills, but owner of Paddy Shack Michelle Padrnos says that while the financial aspect is one way the community can help - prayers are just as important.

“She can feel those prayers all the time. Every time someone prays the family members they say she was a miracle today and so I just firmly believe that prayer will help her tremendously through this," said Padrnos.

Guiliana is working every day towards getting back on the dance floor and members of the community want others to use this accident as a lesson for how dangerous driving under the influence is - not just for yourself - but for others on the road as well.

“Driving under the influence is never a good idea even just a little. Just when we think that your fine just know that your not and just call somebody else to pick you up," said Padrnos.

The St. Pius community is planning on hosting another fundraising event in May.

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