Graceyn Thrailkill is all smiles as she shows off her art work and pictures of her posing in a ballerina costume. But this four-year-old has too much energy, too much heart to be lying in a bed at Blair E. Batson Children's Hospital. She's been here for two weeks after a violent car accident.
"I was just praying to God, 'Let them be okay'. No matter what, we'll get through this," said Lane Thrailkill, Graceyn's father.
At 8:00 on the morning of March 25, Graceyn and her mother, Holly, were in their Nissan minivan on Shiloh Road in Rankin County when they were hit head-on by a Ford utility truck. Holly suffered extensive injuries to her abdomen and legs and had to be airlifted to University Medical Center in Jackson. Graceyn followed in an ambulance.
After undergoing four surgeries, Holly is recovering -- but the crash proved too destructive for Graceyn's little body. She suffered a spinal cord injury and is now paralyzed from the waist down.
"She told me, 'I can't believe this is happening,'" recalls her father. "I said, 'What, baby?' She said, 'The wreck, Daddy. I'm never going to be able to walk again.' It's just hard when your baby's there and you can't help her."
While the Thrailkill family spends their days in the hospital, the driver and passengers of the Ford truck walk free. Alcohol was found on the scene of the crash, but no charges have been filed against the truck's driver, Tonya Gand. Rankin County Sheriff Ronnie Pennington says he is waiting on toxicology reports.
"Before anyone drinks and drives," said Lane Thrailkill, "if they can think about how much they can change someone's life in just a split second."
Thailkill has had to take time away for his job to care for his eight- and six-year-old girls and stay by the side of his wife and youngest daughter while they struggle to recover. It may be months before Holly can walk.
As for Graceyn, Thailkill had this to say: "Even though the doctors tell us she won't walk again we're not giving up hope. We're still praying for Graceyn. I know with all my heart that she's going to walk again one day. I know it."
If you would like to help the Thrailkill family a BankPlus account has been set up in their name. You can visit any BankPlus branch or mail checks to 300 Nissan Drive, Canton, Mississippi 39046. Checks can be made payable to the Lane J. Thrailkill Family Benefit Fund.