Community rallies around 4-year-old critically injured in accident
GRAND FORKS — Misti Kauffman was about to go to sleep on the night of Saturday, Aug. 22, when she noticed a Facebook post from close friend and fellow teacher at Century Elementary School Lindsey Johnson.
"I was just beside myself," she said. "I woke up my husband and we said, 'We need to pray immediately.'"
The post explained Johnson's 4-year-old daughter Ava was critically hurt in an accident, and she had many injuries, including a collapsed lung, fractured ribs and a cracked liver.
Kauffman immediately reached out to Johnson after hearing about the accident, and she said Johnson was already starting to think of the worst.
"She said she was afraid to sleep, because she didn't want to close her eyes, because she was just fearful that Ava would leave," Kauffman said.
Kauffman also talked with her four kids about the accident, and her daughter Rebekah said she remembers seeing her at an Independence Day party. She's shocked to know she's now in the hospital.
"She was so healthy and doing so amazing, and it's just crazy that in one little accident, everything can change," Rebekah Kauffman said.
As the news of the accident started to spread, community members started to chip in to help Ava's recovery effort, including a GoFundMe that has raised over $14,400.
Kool Kreations Shaved Ice, which is located in the Columbia Mall and is run by Kauffman and her kids, is also planning to give away all of its profits on Friday, Aug. 28, to the Johnsons, and she's expecting a big turnout.
"We're just glad we're able to give back to Ava's family this way," Kauffman said. "We've really missed being able to see a lot of those customers this summer."
Kauffman hopes any kind of effort can help her close friend get through this accident, and help Ava get back on her feet soon.
"It's not going to be a short road for them for sure, there's just so many unknowns right now, and we just want to help out the Johnson family in any way that we can," she said.
According to the GoFundMe page, Ava's father Jared Johnson said she'll be on a ventilator for the time being, and her liver is expected to heal.