More than a week and several surgeries later, Angelica Haakenson, 11, of Anchor Point, continues recovering from life-threatening injuries resulting from a Christmas day wreck on the Sterling Highway.
“She got moved out of ICU on Saturday,” Emily Haakenson, Angelica’s aunt, told the Homer News. “She’s had four surgeries so far and will probably have another one next week, but being out of ICU is fantastic.”
An online fundraising site to help cover medical expenses had reached donations totaling more than $60,000 as of Tuesday morning. A Wells Fargo account continued to receive donations in support of the family. Interest in a spaghetti-auction fundraiser to be held at Chapman School beginning at 1 p.m. Jan. 18 has skyrocketed, according to organizer Kayla Tennison.
“On my goodness, it’s absolutely amazing and encouraging. It’s going really good,” Tennison told the Homer News on Monday.
Flyers for the dinner and auction have been posted from Cooper Landing south. More than 50 auction items have been donated and Tennison said she also had a two-page list of donations to go through. Among the items are artwork, toys, jewelry, purses, candies and fishing poles.
“Alaska Wild Berry Products sent a big basket from Wasilla and we have donations coming in from Kenai and Soldotna,” said Tennison.
Tennison has posted the “Spaghetti Feed Fundraiser” on her Facebook page, has sent invitations to more than 1,000 and already received confirmation for almost 200 individuals.
“I’m cooking for 500,” she said. “We’ll feed as many as we can and just serve until it’s gone.”
The wreck occurred at Mile 145.5 Sterling Highway at approximately 5:50 p.m. Dec. 25.
Angelica was with her mother, Mathany Satterwhite, who was driving a 1994 Toyota pickup. They were northbound when the vehicle broke down on the side of the highway. Anchor Point resident Nathan Sargeant, 51, pulled in front of the pickup to jump-start it. There were no operable lights on the pickup and only one headlight working on Sargeant’s van.
Larry E. Pyatt, 29, of Anchor Point was operating a Toyota SUV and didn’t see the pickup, only the van’s headlight. He skidded on ice and slush as he slowed, and struck the pickup.
Standing in front of the pickup to connect jumper cables, Satterwhite was thrown into the ditch by the impact and suffered serious injuries. Angelica, who was standing between the pickup and van, became pinned by the two vehicles and suffered life-threatening injuries. Sargeant and Pyatt sustained minor injuries.
The four individuals were transported to South Peninsula Hospital. Angelica and Satterwhite were later medevaced to Providence Hospital in Anchorage. Angelica’s injuries include multiple spinal fractures and both of her legs have been amputated above the knee.
The threat of infection has been a concern and required the wounds on Angelica’s legs to be reopened for cleaning. It is anticipated she will remain in Providence for another month before she can be moved to a facility to begin the next phase of her recovery process.
Haakenson described her niece as a “very, very determined girl. … She’s had some sad moments trying to grasp what’s happened to her, but her attitude is good. … As far as pain, if anybody can make lemonade out of lemons, it’s her.”
The 11-year-old’s outlook is having an impact on her home community, said Alisha Blaine, a member of the Anchor Point Church of Christ, where Angelica and her family worship.
“You look at the resilience of Angelica. She could have put on a hateful hat, why did this happen to me, but the first question (she asked) was ‘How is my mom?’” said Blaine. “There are lots of lessons being learned. You deal with the drudges of life and people that are ugly to one another and then this sort of thing happens and it all gets put on the back burner. You get the sense of humanity again.”
When Blaine asked Tennison what help was needed for the Jan. 18 fundraiser, she was told food for the dinner had been donated, but desserts would help round out the menu. Rather than having the monthly church potluck on Jan. 18, the congregation has chosen to provide that missing piece, the desserts.
Helping Tennison with spaghetti preparations are Dave Kratsas and Kristina Beeson. Chris Story has volunteered as auctioneer. Local photographers have offered to make a video of the event to be sent to Angelica “so she can see the community coming together for her,” said Tennison. Other contributions and offers for help are continuing to pour in. Donated auction items can be left at Chapman Elementary School.
“Salad makings and salad dressing are the only things I’m missing in the way of food,” said Tennison. “Everybody else has really stepped up. It’s been awesome to see everyone come together for this.”
Haakenson said the family also is amazed at the response.
“There are so many people who are complete strangers or saying, ‘I’m a friend of a friend of your third cousin and heard about this.’ We’re so incredibly thankful for everybody’s generosity and every way they’ve helped,” said Haakenson.
McKibben Jackinsky can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
How you can help Angelica Haakenson
Spaghetti feed, auction
Where: Chapman School gym
When: 1 p.m. Jan. 18.
Includes: Dinner and dessert paid by donation, silent and call-out auctions
Needed: Salad makings and salad dressing, items for the auctions. Auction donations can be left at Chapman School.
Information: Contact coordinator Kayla Tennison, 235-6898
Mail cards to: Angelica Haakenson
Children’s Hospital at Providence
3200 Providence Drive
Anchorage, AK 99508
Donations to help with medical expenses can be made to:
• The Angelica Haakenson Fund,
Wells Fargo account 2413583861