GRASS VALLEY (CBS13) – A Grass Valley woman is paralyzed after falling from a balcony on her Hawaiian vacation. Now her family is racing against the clock to bring her home for the most important surgery of her life.
“We’re gonna get her back home and she is gonna get the help that she deserves and needs,” said James Wolfsgruber, the woman’s fiancé.
Nearly 2,500 miles from home, 28-year-old Sarah Grow is confined to a hospital bed and unable to move. She needs surgery but the only place to get it is at UC Davis or Stanford. Grow can’t sit up to fly commercial and insurance won’t pay for an air ambulance to get home. Now, her family only has 30 days to raise $50,000 to get her home themselves.
“All of a sudden life just changes in an instant,” Wolfsgruber said.
Grow and her fiancé James “JJ” Wolfsgruber were vacationing in Hawaii on Memorial Day when she fell about nine feet from a balcony at a rental condo.
“I just remember waking up on the ground not being able to move or breathe,” Grow explained.
She told CBS 13 she had been drinking alcohol that night.
“It’s vacation: you want to have fun and everything,” Grow said. “You need to be careful because it could be a split-second of a thing and you can’t take it back.”
Grow was airlifted to a local hospital and rushed to surgery. But the fall left her paralyzed.
“There is a fragment of bone that is still pressing on my spine that is causing me to be paralyzed from the waist down,” she explained.
Her only hope at walking again a second surgery where doctors would remove the L1 vertebrae and replace it with a cage and cushion. But her doctor in Hawaii wouldn’t do it so Grow needs to get back to California and find a surgeon at UC Davis or Stanford who can perform the surgery.
“I really want to take advantage of that because I need to walk again,” Grow said.
Wolfsgruber flew back to Grass Valley last week to try to come up with the money himself. He’s willing to sell everything and take out loans all to get his adventurous fiancé of eight months back home.
“It’s pretty frustrating and pretty heartbreaking,” he said.
“He is my rock and he won’t let me down,” Grow said, through her tears.
Grow is trying to remain positive but hopes sharing her story reminds others to be responsible on vacation.
“Once something happens, you can’t take it back,” she said.
Wolfsgruber said many air ambulance companies want a large deposit or the money all at once. So he says a company giving him a month to pay feels like his best chance at getting his fiancé home.