A GoFundMe page has been set up by family friends of Leah Mendelsohn, an 8-year-old girl who was struck and severely injured by a van while crossing New York Avenue last Saturday.
Mendelsohn, a third-grader at Lloyd Harbor School, was struck outside of 586 New York Ave. by a 1997 Ford van driven by Pedro Guerrero of West Babylon.
She was taken to Huntington Hospital by the Huntington Community First Aid Squad, but transported to Cohen Children’s Hospital for further treatment of her head, lung and liver injuries.
Currently in the ICU, Mendelsohn is now awake and communicating with her family. Most recently, she was able to give a little wave and a tube was removed from her throat to speak. “She knows she’s there,” Lisa Pinsker, a close friend of the Mendelsohn family, said, “but she doesn’t know what happened.”
The 8-year-old needed to have part of her skull removed to reduce swelling and suffered a severe brain injury, Pinsker said. Luckily she has no brain damage, but she needs to have another surgery to put the piece of skull back. Mendelsohn also suffered a collapsed lung, which is now the family’s main concern.
Pinsker said that Mendelsohn is going to need months of therapy and rehabilitation, while her father took a leave of absence from to be by his daughter’s side 24/7. Doctors are cautiously optimistic that she will make a full recovery, and the process to heal will be a long one. Because of the brain trauma, she cannot be sedated and the child is trying to remain comfortable.
“She’s in so much pain,” Pinsker said, “and it’s heartbreaking to see her this way.”
The town of Huntington has been a huge support and the GoFundMe account has already raised over $8,000 to help support the Mendelsohn’s through this difficult time. The family also has two young children who are anxiously waiting for their older sister to come home.“This is a huge financial burden for the family,” Pinsker said. “This is why a GoFundMe account has been created, to help support the Mendelsohn’s through this trying time.”
Donations to help support Leah’s recovery can also be made to the Ronald McDonald House. “Any donation, no matter how small, would be much appreciated and can be made anonymously,” Pinsker said.