The outpouring of support for Moorestown High School graduate Brianna Wittman—who was severely injured in a car accident days before her graduation last June—has been tremendous, according to her mother.
"I can't begin to tell you how generous and supportive people have been," said Chrystal Warrington, Wittman's mother. "I am truly blessed to have so many people care about Brianna and love her in so many ways. Its been truly heartfelt."
Wittman, who was 18 at the time of the accident, remained in a coma at Cooper University Hospital in Camden for many weeks following the crash. Today, she's learning to walk again with the help of a walker—after initially being unable to use the right side of her body just after the accident—and can talk and enjoy time spent with friends and family.
"She's getting stronger and stronger every day," said Warrington.
Not that the road has been easy. Wittman is in physical therapy five days a week at Magee Rehabilitation in Philadelphia, and when she's not there she continues to work hard on therapy at home with her mother.
Among the people who have been deeply supportive of Wittman and her family, both prior to and since the accident, are Pastor Bob Ingram, of Full Gospel Fellowship in Burlington, and his wife Dana.
Ingram, as well as his wife, was Wittman's children's pastor when he served at Marlton Assembly of God, and the couple has remained close with the teen and her family. He described Wittman, who sang in the childen's choir, as "energetic" and "vibrant."
The Ingrams are organizing a 5K trail run next month to raise money for Wittman's continued care. The proceeds will go toward equipment and/or therapy—essentially care that is not covered by insurance, explained Warrington, who has become Wittman's full-time caregiver since putting aside her profession after the accident.
"(Wittman) was just a good, solid girl. She had her whole life in front of her," said Ingram. "(When the accident happened) I just thought, 'Wow.'
"What a small thing for us to do, to do something like this to just help them with some of their bills."
Ingram and many of his parishioners, sometimes as many as 17 at a time, have spent many hours since January clearing out the trail that winds its way through Full Gospel Fellowship's 32-acre property. They've spread wood chips along some of the rougher parts of the trail and built three bridges, all in preparation for the run, he said.
The "Run for Recovery" 5K (or 1.5-mile trail fun walk) will be held on Saturday, May 4, at Full Gospel Fellowship, 1607 Jacksonville Road, Burlington. (Click here for more information.)
Although Wittman still has a long road of rehabilitation ahead of her, Warrington said the teen's deep spirituality is "what carries her through."
It's "this spirituality that continues to guide her and give her the faith she needs," said Warrington.