Fundraiser set to benefit woman with spinal injury
By Denise Baran-Unland For The Herald-News April 25, 2012 2:42PM
Jennie Kramerich, 24, of Joliet and her daughter, Jasmine, 5, are shown before Jennie's September 2011 accident. An April 29, 2012 benefit will be held for Jennie at St. Joseph Park in Joliet.
How to help
What: Benefit for Jennie
When: Noon to 10 p.m. Sunday
Where: St. Joseph Park, 733 Theodore St., Joliet
Ticket: $10 donation at the door
What: Raffle drawings, live music, DJ, food and drinks.
Etc: Parking is on Theodore Street between The Frosty Tip and the baseball field.
Contact: Call Bob Kramerich 815-999-2292. Visit www.benefitforjennie.webs.com
Updated: May 27, 2012 8:15AM
JOLIET — A Sunday benefit for Jennie Kramerich will be more than a day of entertainment to help with her medical bills.
It will be the first opportunity for Jennie, 24, since her Sept. 11 accident at her former Romeoville home, to visit with family, friends and past co-workers at RR Donnelly, where she had been a dispatcher.
“She’s really only been out of the house for doctor visits,” said Bob Kramerich, Jennie’s father. “She’s really looking forward to seeing people and catching up with them.”
Luckily, Jennie’s 5-year-old daughter, Jasmine, had been spending the night at her grandparents when Jennie was injured. When Bob and Jennie’s mother, Sandy Kramerich, arrived at Adventist Bolingbrook Hospital, they learned Jennie had sustained a severe neck injury and was being airlifted to Loyola University Hospital in Maywood.
“With that amount of damage to her spinal cord, they knew she was paralyzed from the neck down,” Kramerich said, adding that doctors hesitate to say the paralysis is permanent. “It’s been one of those wait and see things.”
At Loyola, Jennie had two neck surgeries to repair the break with plates and screws. Jennie spent 16 days in Loyola’s intensive care unit before moving to RML Specialty Hospital in Hinsdale.
Two weeks later, Jennie moved again, this time to Marianjoy Rehabilitation Hospital in Wheaton for six weeks of spinal rehab therapy. She was released to her parents’ Joliet home at the beginning of December, just in time for Christmas. By then, Jasmine had been eased into the knowledge of her mother’s accident.
To prepare for Jennie’s arrival, the Krameriches did some remodeling on their 65-year-old house: a ramp to wheel Jennie in and out and some bathroom modifications so Jennie could shower. Family and friends helped with much of the work, Kramerich said.
Another family member, Lori Zukoske of Joliet, is Jennie’s caregiver while Bob and Sandy are at work. Several times each day, Lori stretches the muscles in Jennie’s legs, forearms and shoulders. Jennie also has recently begun occupational therapy.
Jennie does connect with the outside world through Facebook. Although movement below her wrists is limited, she can slowly type responses with the help of a stylus. Kramerich said Jennie’s spirits are high, although having to ask for help all the time frustrates her.
“She’s always been an outgoing person, but this is obviously a big change in her life,” he said. “She tries to take it as she goes.”