CRESTVIEW — Usually, Ricky Bowdren and Sarena Robbins avoid asking for charity, but a recent car crash has left them no other choice.
The engaged couple were in Austin, Texas March 16 when they were involved in a serious collision.
"An oncoming car crossed three lanes of traffic into our lane and hit us head on," Sarena said on www.gofundme.com/7ykds4, the couple's fundraising website. "We saw the car coming and tried to swerve away from it, but it all happened so fast we didn’t have time to move out of the way."
The other driver was at fault, according to an investigator's opinion as recorded in a Texas peace officer's crash report.
Sarena had a shattered right hip and a fractured pelvis; Ricky's kneecap broke in three locations. Both received multiple staples and stitches following the incident.
Now, the couple are living much different lives than before the accident. Ricky said he has limited mobility and can't bend his right leg. He uses a walking crutch to get around; Sarena uses a walker.
And damage from the accident wasn't just physical. The couple said they have recurring nightmares about the crash.
Meanwhile, the bills are a concern.
Bills times two
"There is a lot that we have to still pay for. Things like prescriptions, food, personal needs, getting back and forth to the doctors appointments, which is a lot, medical equipment and supplies," Sarena said.
"That’s a lot of money that adds up really fast just for one person going through all of this, not to mention both of us going through this."
Ricky has Medicare, but Sarena said some local physicians won't help them due to inability to pay.
Sarena said she attempted to sign up for medical coverage with the federal government's Healthcare Insurance Marketplace website, but said she has no money to cover the expense.
Asking for help
So far, friends, family members and a Texas church have helped with monetary and other donations. They've received $1,831 toward their $10,000 goal as of this writing, according to gofundme.com.
Now, the couple seeks the community's assistance.
"I would prefer not to ask people for help; we are both very prideful people," Sarena said.
"We don't know what to do," Ricky said.
That's the case for their work lives, too. Just before moving to Austin, the couple had a local cleaning business that they handed to a friend.
They saw unsuccessful results in Austin, so they decided to return here and start another cleaning business.
Starting over will take awhile.
Ricky's mother, Vonnie Bowdren, retrieved the couple after the incident; they have since been staying at her Crestview residence.
"I'm here for the long haul," she said. "I figure it's going to take at least a year before they can get through this."
And getting through this situation is the goal, Sarena said.
"We want our normal quality of life back," she said. "We're for real, we are legit, (and) we need help."
HOW TO HELP
You can donate toward Ricky Bowdren and Sarena Robbins' recovery account at www.gofundme.com/7ykds4. Residents can reach them at firstname.lastname@example.org or 603-2971