Georgia teacher paralyzed after accident on inflatable waterslide

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Valerie Feske, a middle school teacher in Richmond Hill, Ga., was playing with children on an inflatable waterslide over the Memorial Day weekend when she suffered a devastating spinal cord injury. The accident left her paralyzed from the chest down.

A Georgia teacher playing with children on an inflatable waterslide over the Memorial Day weekend suffered a devastating spinal cord injury that left her paralyzed from the chest down, according to family.

Valerie Feske, an educator at Richmond Hill Middle School near Savannah, is recovering in the intensive care unit at Memorial Health University Physicians hospital in Richmond Hill, news station WTOC 11 reported. She has already had at least one surgery and regained some movement in her arms, family said.

Feske’s husband, Brent, said the accident happened Saturday at a small neighborhood event that had a waterslide for children.

"The kids were playing and Val being Valerie, being the life of the party, decided that she was going to play with the kids and all of the adults were being boring," he told WTOC. "She was up there playing and what happened was one of the kids ended up colliding with her just in the absolute wrong way."

Jennifer Price, a friend at the scene, said the accident “happened in a split second.”

“She was super happy, laughing, having a great time, and everything changed,” she said.

Since the accident, Brent has been camped out at the hospital to be close to his wife of 13 years. The couple have two children, Kenzie and Derek.

"She's moving her arms a little bit, and we weren't even sure if she could do that, and that's 24 hours after surgery. She's already showing improvement, and that, to me, is such a great sign, and I'm just so excited," he said, according to WTOC.

“I am on some rush of positivity, and I don’t know where it’s coming from, I’ll be honest,” he told the station. “It’s devastating, you know, to think that a fun Memorial Day weekend waterslide could be a life-changing event like this.”

GoFundMe web page has been created in Valerie Feske's name and so far has raised nearly $30,000 for medical costs and other expenses due to the accident.

The page states that Feske “had a catastrophic fall from the top of an inflatable waterslide” and goes on to describe the wife and mother as “Everyone’s favorite teacher and friend, Valerie is the epitome of positivity, spunk, and our very own ray of sunshine!”

Maria Knight, a family friend who organized the fundraiser, told WTOC the accident has “changed everything for us. It just helps you to understand that you need to love on your people, which is exactly what we’re doing right now.”


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