Best friends, dancers get together for fundraiser

May 08, 2006|by JENNIFER FITCH

MERCERSBURG, Pa. - Best friends Alisha Miller and Morgan McCartney have matching casts on their right arms, but no other lasting visible signs of the pain they endured in a serious car accident March 25.

To look at them, you wouldn't know that the accident landed the teenagers in separate hospitals, each more than 75 miles from their homes, with their petite bodies suffering from a number of injuries. Between them, they broke a pelvis, two wrists, a leg and a facial sinus cavity. They also suffered a concussion, a ruptured bladder and bruised lungs, a bruised liver, bruised intestines and a bruised spleen.

"Honestly, we're lucky to be alive," Morgan, 15, said.

The girls teach a few hours each week at Step by Step Dance Studio, and after receiving a call the morning after the accident, studio owner Gail Fritz was soon looking for a way to help the girls' families offset their medical bills and the money spent on gasoline to drive to Hershey (Pa.) Medical Center and York (Pa.) Hospital. She chose to host a dance-a-thon at James Buchanan High School, where the girls are students.


"That's what I know dance," Fritz said.

Sunday afternoon's event raised $600 and attracted a mix of young and old dancing for two hours in the high school gym.

Alisha, 17, and Morgan attended the dance-a-thon, which their dance teacher said was a testament to their will to recover.

"We're both strong people, and we can get through this," Alisha said.

Alisha is struggling with watching her best friend, who suffered the more serious injuries, recover from the accident in which she was driving.

"It was hard because it was my fault. Actually, it wasn't my fault, but I put her in that situation, and I shouldn't have put her in that situation," Alisha said. "And I think it has put a strain (on our relationship)."

The helicopter ride from the crash site cost $10,000, explained Alisha, who jokingly said she wishes she would have been fully conscious for her first helicopter ride.

Fritz said the dancers for Sunday's event had solicited friends and family, and the First United Methodist Church of Mercersburg and Giant Food Stores of McConnellsburg, Pa., donated food and water.

Additional donations can be made by calling 717-328-9544, she said.

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