The accident severed her spinal cord, leaving her paralyzed from the neck down

By Caitlin Keating
June 21, 2019 04:17 PM
Gabby Murillo
GoFundMe

A 22-year-old woman who landed her dream internship at Disney World in Orlando, Florida, was struck by a truck while driving and left paralyzed from the neck down.

Gabby Murillo, of West Haven, Connecticut, was spending the summer away from Gateway Community College when the accident happened, according to Fox affiliate WTIC.

“She is obsessed with Disney,” her sister Jennifer told the news outlet. “She’s been trying to get into this college program for probably four years. And, when she got that acceptance letter, we were over the moon for her.”

Gabby had only been in Orlando for a month when her parents got a call last weekend. They were told she had been hit at “full speed” by a drunk driver while she was stopped at a red light with a friend on Saturday, the outlet reported.

“He actually fled the scene. The cops, luckily, were able to catch him,” Jennifer told WTIC, adding that the accident left her sister with “fractured vertebrae [that] severed the spinal cord.”

According to a GoFundMe page, “the result of this horrific event has left Gabby with a spinal cord C3, C4, & C5 vertebrae injury along with her nerves completely severed.”

The campaign was created to help with the steep costs when Gabby begins to “navigate her life in a specialized wheelchair,” including “medical expenses, travel expenses, hotel stays for her family, 24-hour care and more.”

While the family doesn’t know the full cost just yet, they do know that Gabby “is going to need her family’s house modified along with specialized equipment for simple day to day activities.”

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According to the fundraising page, which has since raised over $70,000, “Gabby’s strength and determination has allowed her to successfully undergo two major surgeries. She is currently in ICU on a ventilator awaiting to see if she can breathe on her own. With the help of your prayers, our hope is for Gabby to eventually be strong enough to undergo spinal rehabilitation where she will begin the journey of discovering a new normal.”

Heidi Delaker, a friend of the family, told WTIC, “I do believe in the power of prayer.”

“Our little street here, we are very close,” she added. “We stick together and we are like family and Gabby is family.”

Speaking with WTIC, Gabby’s three sisters gave their sister words of encouragement.

“Where there’s a will, there is a way,” said Jennifer. “And we’re going to get you back to walking and moving your arms. I’m positive about that.”

A spokesperson for Walt Disney World Resort tells PEOPLE, “This is a terrible situation. We are keeping Gabby and her family in our thoughts and hoping for her continued progress.”

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