On the morning of October 8th, 21-year-old Cooper Union student Emilie Gossiaux was hit by an 18-wheel semi-truck driven by one Elio Morales, who police say was not licensed to drive that kind of truck. Gossiaux was rushed to Bellevue in critical condition, and suffered a traumatic brain injury, broken femur, pelvic fractures, facial fractures, and stroke. After the accident, a friend of Gossiaux's told us, "There was a direct impact on her abdomen and the intestines were pushed into her lungs." Her recovery has been arduous, and the crash left her blind, according to a heartbreaking website created to raise money for her medical expenses:
Finally in stable condition after multiple surgeries, doctors determined that Emilie was not cognitively ready for rehabilitative treatment, and should instead be transfered to a long-term nursing home facility. Although she was deaf and unable to communicate without assistive hearing devices, Emilie's boyfriend was still certain of her mental acuity and fought the hospital for her admission to rehab.
By writing on her palm with his index-finger, he was able to communicate with her, proving her high-level cognitive function, and eventually coaxing her into allowing her hearing aid to be inserted. Once switched on, Emilie bounced back immediately, but not without recoil. Her memory and cognitive functioning were completely intact, but she awoke to discover that the trauma had left her blind.
The website also explains that Gossiaux, who was born in New Orleans, was "diagnosed with moderate hearing loss at a young age due to an untreatable disorder." Her passion for art was inspired, in part, by her hearing deficit. (N.B.: Her sister insists her hearing deficit, which was improved by cochlear implant surgery in May, had nothing to do with the accident. "She was STOPPED at the curb as this truck's right back wheel came up onto the curb sidewalk hitting her," Gossiaux's sister writes. "She was not breaking any rules of the road and she was not running a red light, all these assumptions can be laid to rest.")
At any rate, friends of Gossiaux are selling donated artwork to help, and buying one of these pieces might make for a sobering Christmas gift for the cyclist in your life.