Hunter student fighting for her life, mother says

Published: Sunday, May 13 2012 5:29 p.m. MDT

MURRAY — Bessie Porter spent most of this Mother's Day at Intermountain Medical Center, where her 17-year-old daughter, Cassidy, is fighting for her life.

And Porter expects the strong-willed teenager to win.

"I know she's going to be OK," she said.

Cassidy was one of four Hunter High students leaving school for lunch Wednesday when the car they were traveling in collided with another vehicle near the intersection of 4100 South and 5600 West.

The driver of the car, Jacob Armijo, and front-seat passenger Avery Bock, both 16, were killed in the crash. A fourth student, Leticia Cordero, 16, was seriously injured, though she's since been released from the hospital.

Cassidy was airlifted from the crash site in critical condition. Today, she's being treated for a series of injuries, including an aortic tear that requires her to be medically sedated.

She has a broken femur, a fractured pelvis, breaks to both sides of her jaw, a broken arm and a tear in her spleen. Medication has been keeping her kidneys functioning property, and an injury to her liver has been repaired.

"Every day is a new day, and we find that something else is going on," Bessie Porter said.

There also have been successes, she said. Friday night, as Porter was getting ready to go home and get some sleep, Cassidy "raised her arms … and leaned forward," as if she wanted to give her mother a hug.

Cassidy also has winked at her mother and made facial expressions to indicate that she knows her mother is near, Porter said.

"I'm asking the community, my friends and family to continue to pray for Cassidy," she said. Those who know her know how great she is and how strong she is. But prayer is powerful, and we really need people to continue to pray for her."

Porter has seen her daughter make what she called "a miraculous recovery" before.

The girl was missing part of her skull when she was born, her mother said, and a portion of her brain was exposed. Doctors initially thought Cassidy would need between three and five surgeries over the first three years of her life to correct the problem.

But her skull started to grow on its own, Porter said, and no surgeries were required.

"Cassidy is our miracle baby," she said.

Porter said her first fear when she learned Cassidy was injured in a car accident was that she had sustained a head injury. Though Cassidy skull didn't require surgery as a baby, her mother worried that it wouldn't provide the protection she needed.

Fortunately, Porter said, Cassidy sustained no injury to her brain or skull in the accident.

"We have a long recovery ahead of us," she said, "but we'll get through it."

Porter said this Mother's Day has been different because Cassidy "always made Mother's Day special."

"I know we would be doing a lot of things today," she said, "But she's with me and I'm with her, and that's all that matters."

E-mail: jpage@desnews.com, syi@ksl.com

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