Melissa Green watched her 2-year-old daughter Annaleise stop breathing twice between Daniel Island and MUSC in Charleston.
The Carolina Forest Elementary School second grade teacher and her two daughters were in a devastating car accident near Charleston March 15.
Green and 6-year-old Isabella are out of the hospital, and while Annaleise is doing better than she was at first, Green said “there’s a long road ahead.”
A gofundme page, www.gofundme.com/cffamilystrong, with a goal of $75,000, has been set up to help with expenses. In its first two days, $8,930 was raised by 173 people.
Green had cuts and bruises and injury to her spleen, and Isabella had a fractured skull, said Darius Gordyk, an assistant teacher in Isabella’s kindergarten class.
“She’s got a big gap-toothed smile and long, curly hair and she’s always smiling, always happy,” he said about Isabella.
Green is staying at the Ronald McDonald House across the street from MUSC where Annaleise is still in intensive care.
Isabella has had surgery, and is already planning to go back to school.
Not only her family’s accident, but an encounter she had with a stranger at the hospital has changed Green’s perspective on life, she said.
At the hospital, she met, comforted, and wept with Ash, a woman whose 10-year-old daughter Raniya died as a result of a bullying incident at her school.
“That reminded me that no matter how long this road is, I’d rather do this than have the alternative,” Green said.
Green, who lives with her parents in Surfside Beach, attends Forestbrook Baptist Church and said her faith in God is carrying her.
“God has always taken care of me and once again, He’s taking care of things. Annaleise coded at the scene and again in the ambulance, so the fact that she’s alive and breathing is a miracle.
“I didn’t know if I’d see her beautiful eyes again or what she’d be capable of, and my experience with Ash makes me even more grateful. It could have been a completely different story.”
The people who know Green aren’t surprised by her faith or her strength.
“Melissa is there because her own kids were in a car accident, and yet she was comforting another woman,” said CFES principal Dennis Devorick.
Sarah Steed, who also teaches second grade at CFES, has been friends with Green in and out of work for about three years.
“She’s hopeful, she’s strong,” Steed said. “She’s taking it day by day, relying on her faith.”
Green is grateful for each bit of improvement Annaleise makes, and sees God’s hand in all of it.
“She will need extensive rehabilitation, but she’s opening her eyes and doing her best to follow commands,” she said about her daughter’s progress. “She can put her hands together and move them.
“Not consistently,” she said, but added with her characteristic optimism, “Definitely on the road to recovery.”
Gordyk said Green’s vehicle was T-boned.
A fundraiser on March 26 raised close to $4,000 at Handley’s Pub in Carolina Forest. There were raffles and auctions, and the restaurant donated 20 percent of its proceeds that came in between 4-9 p.m.
Gordyk said other fundraisers are in the works because everyone who knows Green wants to help her. Going back and forth between her baby’s ICU hospital room and the Ronald McDonald House, Green said she has no idea when she’ll get another paycheck.
“But,” she said, “It really doesn’t matter. It’ll all work out. God will take care of us.”