Rachel Barezinsky's parents had arranged to buy a wheelchair for her return home after 13 weeks in the hospital, but it wasn't ready on the day she was released.
So they borrowed one from Children's Hospital, not knowing what they would do after they had to return it.
But they were surprised to find a wheelchair waiting for them when they arrived home.
“A mother of a teenage son who had passed away wanted Rachel to have it,” said her stepmother, Drue Barezinsky. “She felt like the wheelchair was part of him because he had been in it for over a year and wanted to share that with us.”
The Barezinskys didn't learn where the wheelchair had come from until a few weeks ago, seven months after Rachel's homecoming in November.
The tale of the wheelchair is among hundreds of stories about anonymous donors who have come together to help Rachel as she recovers from the wounds she suffered Aug. 22. Rachel was shot in the shoulder and head after she and some girlfriends approached a Worthington house in an attempt to scare themselves.
Rachel spent 13 weeks in the hospital before being released to her father and stepmother's home on the Far North Side.
Since then, people have cleaned that home, donated money, and given them furniture, household items and appliances, including a washer and dryer.
They've cut their grass, raked their leaves and made meals for them “every day of the week for months,” said Rachel's father, Greg Barezinsky. “It's so overwhelming, there's no way we could ever do enough to thank people,” he said.
Friends, strangers and businesses worked together to make one of the bathrooms handicap-accessible. And Rachel's seven best girlfriends turned the dining room into a bedroom so she doesn't have to climb the stairs.
In May, Rachel begin splitting time between Greg and Drue's home, and her mother's new home on the North Side.
A group of real-estate agents spruced up Amy Barezinsky's new home at their annual care-day celebration last month.
“They did things for me I didn't have time to do,” said Amy. “It looks so beautiful.”
Rachel also has been given personal gifts.
The mother of one of Rachel's friends sewed a quilt with pictures of her and her best friends. A jeweler gave Rachel diamond earrings when she was crowned homecoming queen at Thomas Worthington High School because “every girl deserves diamonds.”
And her family has been flooded with cards, letters and phone calls since the beginning.
“As Rachel's best friends like to say, ‘ Miracle is an understatement,' ” said Amira Choueiki, Thomas Worthington's student-council recorder, in a letter to the Dispatch in September. “Rachel improves every day, continues to smile and still radiates kindness.''
Students collected more than $6,000 within a month of the shooting for Rachel and her family. The collection showed that “our community rises to the challenges when called upon and that Worthington is an amazing place to live,” Choueiki wrote.
Touched by their kindness, Rachel has handwritten 200 “thank-you” cards just for graduation gifts and wishes.
“I'll find a way to help others as they have helped me,” she said.
In : People
Tags: rachel barezinsky ghosts haunted shootoing obe nde creepy
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