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Video: Injured model’s parents: Lauren ‘is a fighter’

  1. Closed captioning of: Injured model’s parents: Lauren ‘is a fighter’

    >> now joined by lauren 's parents, jeff and cheryl scruggs . good morning to both of you.

    >> good morning.

    >> we just heard i believe it was last night that lauren was able to speak for the first time. describe what that moment meant for you, cheryl .

    >> yeah. just seeing her trying to open her right eye just a tiny bit and her moving her lips. she said hi. and that just brought us to our knees.

    >> when you look at her injuries and you hear that had she been standing any more to the left or the right as she was hit in the chest and the head that she might not be alive, are you seeing this, jeff , as something of a miracle?

    >> yeah, we're just -- gosh, we're just so grateful to the lord for saving her. lauren has a strong faith in jesus christ , as we do as a family. we've been surrounded by friends that have been praying, lifting us up. it's been a really horrendous two days, but we do see some bright signs ahead. you know, we just thank all of those that have been praying for us. we're grateful.

    >> what are doctors telling you about her challenges ahead, and specifically about this effort to save the eye that was damaged?

    >> well, she's had an amazing team of doctors. we're so thankful and grateful to those -- that team. the eye is like still -- you know, it's going to be several weeks before they know for sure what is going to happen with the eye, but they operated on her two days ago just on the eye for over six hours. which we saw that as a good thing. and we're just praying that, you know, she comes through with that. there's -- the original prognosis was that she was going to lose the eye, so that was a blessing. so we are grateful to god for that. and then it's -- what they keep reminding us, the team of doctors, it's just going to be a long haul. there's going to be a lot of additional surgeries that are going to be needed. she's going to have intensive care and, you know, it's just going to be a long haul.

    >> beyond her faith which you just mentioned, it's going to require a lot of her personal toughness for her to endure what you just described. what can you tell us about lauren 's character, her personality, that might help her get through this, cheryl ?

    >> yeah. the thing is lauren is a go-getter. she has always been a go-getter. she -- the doctors are so pleased right now because her progress has just been phenomenal. they can't even really believe that that's going on. and we really know that it's the prayers that we've received. people are praying all over the country. we have been getting e-mails and just messages on caring bridge. she just is a fighter. and she will fight through this and she will make it through. she will use it for good and she knows that jesus uses everything for her good. you know, she's going to have a tough time when she finds out all of the -- everything that's happened and losing her left hand is really a tough thing. but she'll fight. she's a fighter.

    >> especially as she is a blogger. clearly her fighting spirit comes, we can see, from the two of you who are joining us this morning to talk about this. you are also fighting to find a way to pay for all of these required surgeries yet ahead. i understand you've set up a website, is that right, jeff ?

    >> well, there's -- you can follow her progress on caringbridge.com. there has been a fund set up. it's lauren scruggs hope fund. she's just going to need a lot of care for a long time. there's been a lot of people that have been asking us how they can help and that's one way you can help. more than anything we just covet your prayers, especially the next couple of weeks, and just praying that she comes through. she is a strong girl. i mean she loves exercise. she's physically fit. she eats well. you know, she's into eating whole foods. part of her magazine is all about health and fitness , so, you know, lauren is going to fight.

    >> well, jeff and cheryl scruggs , you asked for prayers, i'm sure you'll get them. thank you so much this morning.

By
TODAY contributor
updated 12/6/2011 8:47:19 AM ET 2011-12-06T13:47:19

Lauren Scruggs may have suffered devastating injuries during a horrific propeller accident over the weekend, but her parents said she has the indomitable spirit to endure a long and painful recovery.

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At 9:30 p.m. Saturday, the 23-year-old model and editor landed at Aero Country Airport, about 30 miles from Dallas, after flying with a pilot friend to view the Christmas Lights in the area.

Video: Injured model’s parents: Lauren ‘is a fighter’ (on this page)

While moving in darkness toward the front of the plane after landing, Scruggs walked into the still-moving propeller. It struck her left side, severing her left hand, fracturing her skull, causing a brain injury and breaking her left collarbone. She also suffered extensive damage to her left eye, which she could still possibly lose.

Lauren's parents, Cheryl and Jeff Scruggs, appeared on TODAY Tuesday to discuss her daughter’s recovery and the outpouring of support since the near-fatal accident. The part-time model and editor of LoLo Magazine is currently resting in intensive care at Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas. She was able to speak recently for the first time, telling her mother and sister, “I love you.’’

Video: Model’s first words after accident: ‘I love you’ (on this page)

“She is just a fighter, and she will fight through this,’’ Cheryl Scruggs told Ann Curry. “She will make it through, and she will use it for good. She’s going to have a tough time when she finds out…everything that’s happened, and losing her left hand is really a tough thing, but she’ll fight.’’

“It’s been a really horrendous two days, but we do see some bright signs ahead, and we just thank all those who have been praying for us,’’ her father said. “We’re grateful.’’

Doctors may be able to save Scruggs’s badly damaged left eye, her parents said.

“It’s going to be several weeks before they know for sure what is going to happen with the eye,’’ said Jeff Scruggs. “They operated on her two days ago just on the eye for over six hours, which we saw as a good thing, and we’re just praying that she comes through with that. The original prognosis was that she was going to lose the eye, so that was a blessing, so we’re grateful to God for that.’’

Model, editor seriously injured by plane's propeller

Lauren already showed her parents some of that fighting spirit by trying to communicate with them a mere two days after the accident.

“Just seeing her just trying to open her right eye a tiny bit, and then move her lips and she said “Hi,’’ that just brought us to our knees,’’ her mother said through tears.

Courtesy CaringBridge.org
Updates on badly injured model and editor Lauren Scruggs' recovery are posted on CaringBridge.org.

Rather than see the accident as a tragedy, her parents said it's a blessing that their daughter was not killed by the propeller. They are also thankful for the team of doctors — who said Lauren is lucky to be alive — that have assisted her in her recovery.

“This is a miracle,’’ Jeff told NBC News.

The plane had landed to pick up another passenger, and her parents believe Lauren was walking toward the front of the plane to thank the pilot, a friend of hers, when she collided with the moving propeller. The pilot could not be reached by NBC for comment, but Scruggs’s parents believe it was an accident and not negligence on the pilot’s part. An expert feels that the pilot should have done more to avoid the incident.

“The pilot is responsible for the care and oversight of not only the people who are flying as passengers, but anybody that may be a pedestrian around the airplane,’’ Greg Feith, a former National Transportation Safety Board investigator, told NBC News.

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Doctors have told the Scruggs family Lauren's return will be long and arduous. But they are optimistic. Before the accident, Lauren was in excellent physical shape, Jeff noted.

“Lauren is a go-getter, and she has always been a go-getter,’’ her mother said. “The doctors are so pleased right now because her progress has just been phenomenal. They can’t even really believe that that’s going on.’’

“She is a strong girl,’’ her father said. “She is going to fight.’’

Prayers have poured in from all over the country in emails and via the website CaringBridge.org, where her progress is regularly updated. Since Lauren will need numerous additional surgeries, according to doctors, her parents have also set up the Lauren Scruggs Hope Fund as a way to raise money to help pay for her medical bills.

“She’s just going to need a lot of care for a long time,’’ her father said. “More than anything, we just covet your prayers, especially for the next couple weeks.’’

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