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Calgary girl, paralyzed in fatal Texas crash, to receive specialized treatment in California
Published Friday, September 14, 2018 4:46PM MDT
Last Updated Friday, September 14, 2018 6:34PM MDT
A 10-year-old Calgary girl continues to make significant progress in her rehabilitation following a crash in Texas that claimed three of her family members and she’ll soon head to Sacramento for specialized treatment.
Mehak Minhas was paralyzed from the waist down in the July 14, 2018 collision near Amarillo, Texas that took the lives of her seven-year-old brother Mehar, her father Upinderjit and her grandmother Nirmal. The family’s minivan was involved in a head-on collision with a semi.
Mehak was transported from the crash site to a local hospital before she returned to Calgary and into the care of the staff at the Alberta Children’s Hospital.
“There’s a lot of improvement. Each day that comes is a better day,” explained Mehak’s mother Jasleen. “What I’ve seen since the day it happened, we’ve been constantly struggling but every day has come to be a better day.”
Jasleen and her eight-year-old daughter Japleen were also injured but have since been released from hospital. “The kind of crash it was, I couldn’t even believe I would survive but I’m here and I’m here for a reason,” said Jasleen. “Whenever there’s a time where I’m really sad or really don’t know what to do, there’s people around me - my friends, my family – (for) support.”
Jasleen required a neck brace for several weeks but has since shed the support device.
In the first weeks following the crash, Mehak was confined to a bed and required a back brace. She has since regained feeling in some extremities and has been able to make small movements. “I’ve been moving my toes. I had fractured my back and now it’s healed so I don’t need the brace I was using.”
The 10-year-old now gets around the hallways of the hospital in a wheelchair and has begun attending school within the building. She will soon leave the Alberta Children’s Hospital for the Shriners Hospitals for Children – Northern California in Sacramento, California to continue her rehabilitation.
“I thought that maybe I might have an opportunity to walk again,” said Mehak.
“Shriners is the next step for us as far as pediatric spinal injury rehab is concerned,” said Jasleen. “The hospital here is coordinating with them and I’m hoping it’s going to be very nice and helpful for us.”
Gurpreet Singh, a friend of the Minhas family who is also a doctor, says their is optimism surrounding the trip. “The Shriners definitely have some more expertise. They have more experience. They may have more technology also to help stimulate some of those muscles and help them work better. That’s what we’re hoping for.”
Mehak will be accompanied by her mother, sister and three of her grandparents when they leave on Monday and the length of their stay in California will be determined by her progress.
The Shriners will be covering the cost of the trip and treatment.
Friday was an emotional day for the Minhas family. Not only was it the two month anniversary of the crash, September 14, 2018 would have been Mehar’s seventh birthday. His sisters honoured his memory by each wearing one of his shirts and singing Happy Birthday to him, and the family has plans for dinner and a movie.
“He was my baby and I will always love him and cherish,” said Jasleen. “I wish him a happy birthday from the bottom of my heart wherever he is.”
Jasleen says she has received overwhelming support in the weeks following the crash and she continues to draw strength from her children. “I’m doing better than before. Emotionally, it’s up and down because it’s not easy for me. I’m hanging in there for her.”
“I feel so thankful to everybody that came forward to help me in every way possible.”
A GoFundMe campaign to support the Minhas family is nearing the halfway mark of its $250,000 goal. To donate to the cause visit Fundraiser for Jasleen Minhas.
With files from CTV’s Shaun Frenette