BISMARCK, N.D. (KXNET) — It’s been eight months since KX first reported on the tragic case of Lillyanna Morales — a 14-year-old girl who suffered traumatic injuries after diving off a water slide at the former Ramkota Hotel in Bismarck (now known as The Bismarck Hotel). The pool was too shallow, and after Lillyanna collided with the floor of the pool, she was sent to multiple hospitals for care — including locations in Bismarck, Fargo, and Minneapolis — and spent weeks on a ventilator before returning back to North Dakota.
Once the community became aware of the situation, they rallied behind Lillyanna and her family. Beginning with a silent auction, fundraising efforts sprung up to raise funds for her care. After flights, scans, spending roughly two weeks on a ventilator, and a large amount of time in a rehab center, she’s finally home — and while she’s doing better, it’s a long road for her to become accustomed to her new situation.
“Lillyanna is definitely better since KX last covered the accident,” Lillyanna’s mother told KX. “She unfortunately still has paralysis on her right side, but she has a lot more control on the left. We’re finally home from Gillette, and currently, she’s trying to navigate this new way of life.”
It’s a tough journey, but according to Stephanie, Lillyanna is as optimistic as possible about life going forward. However, the two claim that the situation has opened their eyes to a new issue in the state: the lack of accommodations for those with physical disabilities.
“I’m a big believer that there is a reason for everything,” continues Stephanie, “and that one day, God will tell or show you that reason. I’m not sure if it was to show us the day-to-day difficulty many places have with accommodations, or if it was meant to slow us down as individuals, but maybe one day, we’ll know.”
While it’s a shame to see that they are still experiencing troubles after the accident, we’re happy that she’s recovering, and so is the community of Bismarck surrounding Lillyanna. Stephanie made a particular note in our check-up conversation about how happy the support of others has made her family during these difficult times.
“On a lighter note,” concluded Stephanie, “I am beside myself on how much love and kindness we received from the community! I can’t thank you all enough for getting the story out there and reminding everyone to practice pool safety.”
The GoFundMe for Lillyanna’s Fight is still active, and can be found here. All donations go to further treatment for Lillyanna.