In August 2013, Annie began experiencing severe headaches and neck pain. She went to St. John's Health Center, where doctors discovered that she had a brain aneurysm, requiring an emergency procedure. Although doctors were able to "coil" the aneurysm, it ruptured during the procedure and Annie sustained serious brain trauma. After a failed extubation, she experienced pulmonary edema and Cogestive Heart Failure. Annie spent more than a month in various ICUs, including several weeks at UCLA Medical Center. Eventually, she stabilized such that an MRI proved possible; unfortunately, its interpretation suggested strongly a pessimistic prognosis.
In time, she woke from the coma, seeming to become more and more responsive. The real miracle came after we played one of her favorite songs, a parody of Miley Cyrus “We Can’t Stop,” called “We Can Bark,” and she suddenly started miming the lyrics and dancing along. All the medical staff on the floor rushed to witness this once-in-a-career brilliant recovery moment.
Eventually, with a tracheotomy still in place, she transferred to an LTAC, a long-term acute care facility, and then to Long Beach Memorial for further in-patient rehabilitation. After completing her in-patient treatment, her family flew back with her to parent's home in Maryland, where she has been continuing intensive rehab on an outpatient basis. Annie has a long road ahead of her, but her resilience is astounding and, with our love and support, her future looks promising.
As Annie's insurance will only partially cover her mounting medical expenses, she needs our support to ensure that financial constraints will never limit the quality of care and rehab that Annie receives. Note that high-caliber rehabilitation for traumatic brain injury is absolutely essential, especially for someone her age, but you only get what you pay for. Annie's family has put everything on hold to help her in this period and will go wherever is best for her, but all of this adds to the collective financial strain.
She is currently struggling with severe memory and vision issues, which are gradually improving. The recovery, such as it is, is seemingly miraculous relative to prognosis, but we have a LONG way to go before she regains the normalcy she deserves. Every medical professional tells us that an incredibly significant factor in her recovery will be the quality of rehab she receives, and unfortunately, we are part of the 99.9% that does not have the gold-plated insurance that would fund the extraordinary level she really needs.
All donations go to HelpHOPELive - Mid-Atlantic Traumatic Brain Injury Fund, designated for Annie, to help cover her uninsured medical expenses. Thanks to HelpHOPELive's involvement, all contributions will be tax-deductible and the Leslie family will not incur a tax burden from receiving this assistance. Due to the generosity of so many old friends, family, colleagues, and strangers of kind disposition, we have gotten so close to our goal of $60,000.
Please consider donating, and help us spread the word. Thank you all for your support, prayers, thoughts, and solidarity.