Anna's Letter to the GFWC Tampa Women's Club

 Dear members of the GFWC Tampa Women’s Club:

My name is Anna. I first heard about your organization through Ms. Cathy Geary, who has been a supportive friend to me since the day I met her. She mentioned that Tampa Women’s Club is hosting Fashionollia ’64 in April 2012. I am writing to ask that you consider The Bloomingdale Library Victim Fund as your chosen charity for the event.

April 24th, 2008 was a day that changed my family's lives forever. My little sister was raped and beaten and left for dead. But she did not die.
 
She was at the Bloomingdale Public Library dropping off books into the night drop. She was on the phone with her friend as she pulled into the library. Her friend then heard a scream and the phone went dead. Within the hour, the library was swarming with cops, investigators, EMTs, and frantic family members and friends.
 
Her attacker was found guilty on all charges and was recently sentenced to 65 years in prison. Her story has been highly publicized over the past 3 years.
 
The attack left my sister unable to see, talk, eat, or move. She communicates through widening her eyes, smiling and clenching her fists.  She requires around-the-clock care and attends daily physical, occupational and speech therapies to aid her slow recovery.
 
She had just turned 18 two days before the attack. She had a full ride academic scholarship to the University of Florida that fall. She volunteered to mentor disabled kids. She participated in local fundraisers. She was actively involved in clubs and sports at her school. Her specialty was making people smile.
 
Until this day, she still makes people smile. Her body might be still but her mind is very much alive. She remembers. She comprehends. She understands. She feels. She reacts. You can see it in her eyes, in her slight arm movements, and her wide smiles, in her giggles and infectious laugh. She undergoes intense therapies and treatments day by day and never gives up. My mom has not returned to work since my sister was attacked, but has become my sister’s full-time caregiver. We have been caring for her at home.
 
This year in April, she was set to lose the majority of her benefits on her 21st birthday, when she would age-out of Child Medicaid Services.  With the help of many community leaders, such as Senator Rhonda Storms, she has been enrolled in the Aged and Disabled Adult Medicaid waiver. She has been on the waiting list since 2008 but recent funding to the program has made it possible for her to take advantage of these additional benefits.
 
The added help from the waiver will keep her at home, instead of moving to a nursing home, but she still needs help from the community.  The waiver has its drawbacks as the program does not pay for all the therapy she needs, like aquatic therapy for example, and other unique and intensive therapy programs that have proven to be beneficial for her.
 
If chosen, the fundraiser would raise money for therapies and other services my little sister lost following her transition to the Aged and Disabled Adult Medicaid waiver.

Thank you so much for your time and consideration. I would gladly meet with the club to share any other details or answer additional questions.

Sincerely,
 
Anna Vuong



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