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Prayers and fundraisers
Portal student recovering from accident
Taelyn Hagans, right, with her friend Nostalia Rivera on their first day of school. Nostalia’s mother, Michelle Rivera, is heading several fundraisers for the Hagans family to help with expenses while Taelyn’s parents take leave from work to help their daughter recover from injuries sustained by being struck by a vehicle.

After two weeks of prayer, close medical care and sheer will, 11-year-old Taelyn Hagans is making slow but deliberate progress after being struck by a car in Portal earlier this month.

Parents Tracy and Tonya Hagans give credit to God for their daughter’s ongoing recovery from the accident that left her with a broken leg, internal injuries and a traumatic brain injury. When the accident happened, Taelyn was walking from Portal Middle/High School to Portal Elementary School, where her mother works, just after school let out Aug. 7.

According to Georgia State Patrol reports, she darted out in front of a passing car and was struck. There have been no charges in the accident. Taelyn was airlifted to a Savannah hospital but was transferred to Scottish Rite Children’s Hospital in Atlanta earlier this week, according to her father, Tracy Hagan.

The past two weeks have been stressful, with minimal response from the girl. But on the way to Atlanta, Taelyn hugged an EMT, whispered that she loved her and told her mother “she had to pee,” Tonya Hagans said.

“She has been eating a little — just bites of things like applesauce,” she said.

His daughter has “been in and out for the past 14 days,” Tracy Hagans said Wednesday, speaking from the Scottish Rite hospital room where Taelyn is being treated. “Those were her first words” since the accident.

Taelyn’s speech is slurred and her movement limited, and her clarity is still affected.

“She has a long road ahead of her,” he said.

But as she undergoes “intensive therapy,” her daughter is fighting, Tonya Hagans said.

“She has always been a trooper.”

Both Tonya and Tracy Hagans are on leave from their jobs so they can care for their daughter. Several fundraisers have been organized to help them meet needs during the time they are focused on Taelyn, said Michelle Rivera, a family friend who is heading many of the drives. She created a Facebook page — “Fundraisers for Taelyn” — where people can get information on the many events planned.

“The entire community has come together for sweet Taelyn,” she said.

Several Portal community members have agreed to help in a bake sale during the upcoming Catface Country Turpentine Festival in October. Currently, T-shirts with a guitar logo and the words “Music is Life — Play it for Taelyn” are being sold at Lowe’s in Statesboro; see Chris or Paula Fields in customer service to order, she said. Prices are from $20 to $25, sizes small through 4X.

There will be raffles as well, with items including gift certificates to The Combat Zone, McKeithen’s True Value Hardware, Ogeechee Heating and Air and Leapjoy Inflatables, as well as several bicycles, she said.

Tarantino’s Little Italy restaurant in Swainsboro is holding a Bike Night event Aug. 29 at 6 p.m. to benefit the Hagans.

Family friend Jeannie McCurdy held a private fundraiser that exceeded its original goal of $500, and further donations are appreciated, she said.  A GoFundMe event page can be accessed at’fortaelyn.

However, Tonya Hagans said prayer is the best gift of all. She said she is amazed to find that “people from all over the country, from far-away states” have shared Taelyn’s story and sent prayers.

“We know that God is going to heal Taelyn,” she said, speaking to the Statesboro Herald by phone from her daughter’s hospital room Wednesday. “It has humbled us to know how much people really care.  God is keeping us strong and he is moving mountains.”

She asked to extend thanks and love to everyone who has prayed, donated or otherwise supported the family.

“We’re taking it day by day,” Tracy Hagans said.


Herald reporter Holli Deal Saxon may be reached at (912) 489-9414.

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