CORAL SPRINGS, Fla. - A South Florida teen was on vacation in Utah riding ATVs through the desert with her two older brothers when tragedy struck.
"They told him it was not necessary to wear helmets because it was so hot," the siblings' mother, Lisa Zepeda, said.
"We went up this giant hill and it was all sand. So my brother took a turn, and it turned and tipped over onto the side I was on," Helena Zepeda, 15, said.
The ATV crushed the teen’s right hand when it tipped over.
Helena was airlifted to a hospital in Las Vegas, where doctors had to amputate four of her fingers.
"I just wanted to go home," Helena said.
"The bones were so badly crushed that that they had to do a bone amputation in it. And the muscles, the tendons, the inside of her hand was crushed completely," Lisa Zepeda said.
Helena played soccer last school year at Coral Springs Charter School.
Her mother said that while in the hospital, Helena received a rally of support from the local Las Vegas soccer team and local charities.
But back in South Florida, the shock lingers as Helena adjusts to doing things differently, like using her left hand now for everything.
"Like playing soccer. They say I can do it, but I don't want do it because I know people will treat me differently," Helena said.
Helena's mother said this is just the beginning of her daughter's recovery with months of physical therapy ahead, but the outpouring of warm wishes and support from her Coral Springs community has lightened the burden.
"The city of Coral Springs, my job, they've been phenomenal," Lisa Zepeda said.
Helena's mother said she plans on suing the rental company for negligence.
Loved ones have already raised over $11,000 on a GoFundMe page to help with Helena's medical expenses and other living expenses as Lisa Zepeda, who is a single mother, helps her daughter during her recovery.
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