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St. Joseph family holds Valentine's Day benefit for paralyzed mother

“We’ve been trying to put in every last dime everyone in the family has to be able to bring her home," said Cadwallader.

Posted: Feb 11, 2021 3:39 PM
Updated: Feb 12, 2021 1:46 PM

(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) A car accident on New Year's Day 2020 forever changed the life of the Cadwalladers.

The St. Joseph family had an annual traditional to get together for dinner on New Year's Day. Rick and Donna Cadwallader were driving south on I-29 near Dearborn when they hit a piece of ice.  

"They were coming to see me,” said Haley Cadwallader, daughter of Rick and Donna. 

Haley's parents never made it to dinner. 

Dash cam video shows the Cadwallader's car losing control on I-29, crossing the roadway and travelling down the embankment. The crash report from the Highway Patrol said the car overturned and landed on it's roof. Troopers said the couple was not wearing seatbelts. 

“And that’s when the car came down on my mom’s head and broke her vertebrae. My mom just said, ‘I can’t move, I can’t feel anything,’” said Haley Cadwallader. 

Donna is now paralyzed from the elbows down.

The wife and mother is rehabilitating at a Lincoln, Nebraska hospital learning how to live her new life from a chair. 

“She went from being able to do anything to not being able to open a candy wrapper,” said Haley Cadwallader. 

Her husband, Rick, walked away from the accident with only a few broken ribs according to their daughter. But, Rick had been undergoing dialysis after suffering kidney failure and open heart surgery. Donna, once the sole provider, can no longer take care of her husband or herself. 

“I mean, she took care of the house, she took care of everything. She was the only one working. Having to step up and help my dad-he is stressing. It’s been hectic,” said Haley Cadwallader. 

Adding to the stress, Donna's family is working to make her home handicap accessible before she comes home the first of April, but those renovations come with a steep price tag. 

“We’ve been trying to put in every last dime everyone in the family has to be able to bring her home," said Cadwallader, “She has to have a wall sling. It goes on the ceiling and it takes her places like to put her in bed, the shower and just to get in and out the door.”

The financial burden is why the family is holding a silent auction benefit on Valentine's Day. The Cadwalladers are hoping Donna's lifelong neighbors can send a little love her way.

“I want her to come home more than anything,” said Haley Cadwallader. 

The benefit for Donna is Sunday, February 14th. The event runs from 1 p.m.-4 p.m. at the Eagles Lodge at 2004 N. Belt Hwy. 

A raffle, silent auction on donated items from the community and food will be available.

For more information on the auction or to help the family, contact Sheri Cadwallader at (816) 390-2145. 

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Today will be another warm and sunny day with highs back in the low to mid 90s. The heat index will be slightly higher today due to the increased humidity. Temperatures will start to rapidly warm on Thursday and Friday with highs in the upper 90s. Heat index values both days will likely be near or at the triple digits. Rain chances will start to increase Friday night into the weekend as a cold front approaches our area. Temperatures will cool into the lower 90s for the weekend with highs back in the 80s for the beginning of next week.
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