Visiting Cassidy

<p>Visiting Cassidy</p>

Visiting Cassidy

We've been following the story of a 17-year-old Kennewick girl who fell 50 feet from a swing at church camp last month leaving her paralyzed from the waist down and now we have the full the story from Cassidy Almquist and her family.

"I just kissed her goodbye, just thinking this is going to be a great week for her and got a call from my husband saying Cassidy has had an accident," said Kari Almquist, Cassidy's mother.

Kari dropped Cassidy off to volunteer at church camp in Eastern Oregon several weeks ago, never expecting the next place she'd see her is the hospital.

Within a few hours of arriving to camp, Cassidy was asked to demonstarte a swing for the younger children.

I remember my friend asking me to be the demonstartion for the swing," said Cassidy. "I remember going out there and then that's when I don't remember anything after that. That's when it kind of stopped, I don't remember the accident or anything."

Cassidy said the swing was tied between two tall trees where she would sit in a harness and swing like a pendulum.

A malfunction on the swing caused Cassidy to drop straight down, nearly 50 feet, landing on the ground and leaving her paralyzed from the waist down.

At first Cassidy's parents were told she only had a broken arm and leg but once they heard she was going to be airlifted, they knew her injuries were far more serious.

Cassidy fathers said she was first taken to Kadlec Regional Medical Center in Richland and then to Harbor View Medical Center in Seattle where x-rays showed Cassidy's vertibrae has burst and her spinal chord was damaged.

Cassidy's father received a frightening call from his son while driving up to see her.

"He's like dad you've got to go faster, she can't breathe," said Mark Almquist, Cassidy's father. "I was just broken and I couldn't imagine that I may lose my baby before I even get to see her."

Mark said Cassidy was immedtalety taken into several surgeries, and once a doctor had seen her spinal chord in person, it actually wasn't as bad as shown in the x-rays.

The Almquist family was given more hope.

"It was thrilling when he (the doctor) came out a couple hours early and he said, 'I didn't have to repair her spinal chord, it was in tact'," said Mark.

While Cassidy remains in good spirits in Seattle, there have been a number of fundraisers that have gone on in the Tri-Cities for her and she says can't believe it.

It's crazy, I don't understand it," said Cassidy. "I would've thought my friends and family supporting me but it's crazy to see people that I don't even know stepping up and saying, 'We're praying for you, we're here for you, we love you.' I don't even know what to say."

"There are no words to be able to say thank you to the people in our community and the Tri-Cities," said Kari. "I love the Tri-Cities but now I love them even more."

As far as Cassidy's recovery, her parents said it's been remarkable, and they're more than hopeful she will one day walk again.

"I've been in pain but it hasn't been overwhleming," said Cassidy. "I've been good-ish through it, just kind of pushing through and knowing that things will get better and that there's going to be hard times but it'll be okay."