A brave teenage girl who sustained serious injuries during a potentially fatal hit-and-run car accident is on the mend, but still seeks financial help for expensive surgeries.
Seventeen-year-old Dulce Estrada was walking home on Saturday, December 6 at approximately 11:30 p.m. near 43rd Street and Ninth Avenue in Sunset Park when she was struck by the speeding vehicle. The driver was never caught.
“When I fell, I broke my hip, received an abrasion on the left side of my face and my ear got really messed up,” she said. “I was in the hospital for a month. I didn’t remember much, except seeing a white car.”
As a result of the accident, Estrada was forced to miss the remainder of her junior year of high school and was home-schooled instead. “I had to drop all my classes.”
Once she was released from the hospital, Estrada endured extensive physical therapy. “My rehab lasted about three month, from January to March,” she said. Being an active teen before the accident, she struggled with the experience. “It was really difficult because I couldn’t put full weight on my left foot. I lost balance whenever I put partial weight on it.”
Although she can currently walk normally after regaining strength in her hip, Estrada still has severe injuries. “Right now, I can walk but I have a scar on my face and my left ear is smaller than my right one,” she said. “I would have to say accepting it has been the hardest part. It’s hard explaining [the injury].”
Estrada can hear through the ear, but its size remains the issue. Her insurance, she said, has paid for her surgeries but is not guaranteeing to pay the full cost of the prosthetic surgery she would need to restore the ear. There is a surgeon from Wisconsin who is willing to perform the anaplastology; however, he requires payments for the beginning of the treatment.
To help pay for the surgery, Estrada has taken to the fundraising site GoFundMe, with the goal of raising $17,000. “I would really like to have my prosthesis done sooner rather than later and this money will make that come true for me,” she wrote on her page. “Any donation is highly appreciated.”
Despite the pain and the long road ahead of her, Estrada remains optimistic as she starts her senior year of high school this September. “Everyone has been so supportive, especially my family,” she said. “It doesn’t matter how many times you fall. It’s how many times you get up. “
To donate, visit www.gofundme.com/Dulce-sEar.