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Published: Wednesday, 7/1/2009

Haskins unites to aid injured teen

BY FLORENCE DETHY
BLADE STAFF WRITER

It was every mother's worst nightmare.

On May 10, Mother's Day, 17-year-old Corine Fonseca was traveling southbound on State Rt. 64 when she dropped off a slight curve in the road. According to the Wood County Sherriff's report, after she overcorrected the other way, she lost control of the vehicle, went off the right side of the road, and struck a utility pole.

A few moments later her mother, Jennifer Fonseca, who was on her way back from the grocery store with her 9-year-old daughter, recognized her older daughter's vehicle as she came upon the scene.

"I was the first one that came upon the scene," Mrs. Fonseca said. "I probably approached the accident a minute after it happened."

Nearly every bone in Corine's face was broken, as were her arm and both pelvic bones. One leg was crushed.

Corine had wanted a nose job - but her nose was essentially the only bone in her face not to break, Mrs. Fonseca recalled, laughing.

Now, seven weeks and multiple surgeries later, the track star and soccer player is facing a long road of rehabilitation with determination and an upbeat attitude, friends and family say.

And she is not going it alone. Since the accident, the Haskinscommunity has rallied to support her and her family.

Three successful fund-raising events have been held and at least two more are in the works, said Haley Schwind, who has been one of Corine's best friends since the sixth grade.

Just a week after the crash, Her-

bies, an eatery down the street from the Fonsecas, donated 25 percent of every meal sold to Corine's recovery. Eddie Villareal, the owner of Herbies, said the event's turnout was overwhelming.

"There was even more people for this fund-raiser than there was for the grand opening," he said. "We had people in line out the door there to support Corine."

Two weeks later, residents and businesses donated food and auction items, and a dunking booth for a cookout at the local park. Ms. Schwind, an organizer who was dunked in the dunk tank, said the event raised at least $7,000. A poker round was also organized at a local hangout.

But the financial support has not come only from large-scale events. Each day, Ms. Schwind said, the donation jar for Corine at Buzzy's Place, the ice cream shop where she worked, has been filling up .

"You wouldn't believe how many people, who don't even tip us usually, are throwing down [money] for Corine," she said.

Having returned home from the hospital about two weeks ago, Corine is itching to get active again, her mother said, adding that one of Corine's goals has been to be out on the soccer field in the fall.

"The doctors all say it's impossible," her mother said. "But she's determined."

On July 12, St. Paul Lutheran Church in Haskins will have an ice cream social to benefit Corine. Buzzy's Place is donating the ice cream.

If the event raises at least $2,500, the local branch of Thrivent Financial will make a matching donation.

Contact Florence Dethy at:

fdethy@theblade.com

or 419-724-6064.



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