Big Rapids teen recovering from summer car accident with community support

On July 30, Naomi Parks was enjoying a ride down the sand dunes at Silver Lake State Park with her friend Seth when their pickup truck overturned several times. Seth and Naomi were both pinned in the vehicle to begin with, but Naomi was pulled out by heart fire and taken to Mercy Hospital in Muskegon.

She could not feel anything below her shoulders.

“Seth’s parents were with her the whole time, holding her hand,” says Naomi’s older sister, Elizabeth Keena. “It’s one of those things that I think happens to other people. It was surreal.”

Naomi is now on Mary Free Bed in Grand Rapids. He is still not able to use his arms or legs. Her staff of nurses and doctors have become friends, helping her with rehabilitation. They are working on occupational therapy and physical therapy. Naomi remains optimistic about every progress she makes.

“I can’t wallow sitting here. I have to get up I have to try and progress not only for myself but also for my family,” Naomi says.

While Naomi continues to work and progress, her family is working on making the best life possible for her when she comes home. The family’s current home in Big Rapids is not wheelchair accessible, especially Naomi’s room. Elizabeth and her fiancé, Tony Telfer, will sell their house and rent the house to a family member while they build a new home. Elizabeth says that was always the plan. It just happened early.

Elizabeth and her other sister, Carly Allers, are working with the insurance company and take turns driving south to see Naomi. Both sisters quit their jobs, and their husbands are working to support both households.

“Every day there is something that needs to be done,” says Elizabeth. “Whether it’s going to the hospital and learning how to care for him or dealing with you know insurance or something like this or that, there’s always something to do. It’s just, it’s crazy.”

The recent changes to no-fault auto insurance have been a struggle.

“At this point we’re just trying to work around the fact that we can’t get anything out of car insurance,” Carly says. “Trying our best to completely rule it out and plan the worst with it and find stuff without auto insurance.”

The family, friends and community of Big Rapids are very supportive of Naomi. A Spaghetti Dinner Benefit was held on Saturday, August 28 at Sugar Creek Restaurant in Big Rapids. There was a huge turnout with 100 percent funding to meet Naomi’s needs.

“He put on this whole thing for us and it was great to see all these people coming together for Naomi and us,” says Elizabeth. “Seth’s parents really want to make a profit after she’s out so that she can actually be there and participate. We’re thinking about the first weekend in November and hopefully Naomi will come home. “

“You’re like sunshine, Naomi, you don’t even know. You don’t have to meet or talk to anyone, you can literally just walk into a room and it’s your aura. It’s who you are. People Just love you,” Elizabeth tells Naomi.

You can donate to help Naomi Parks’ recovery by clicking here. You can also follow Naomi Strong on Facebook to see her journey.



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