Heat Wave Takes Toll on D.C. Region

Community Rallies Around Woman Paralyzed During Friday's Derecho

Tree fell on woman riding motorcycle

By Jackie Bensen
|  Wednesday, Jul 4, 2012  |  Updated 5:54 PM EDT
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Woman Paralyzed During Friday's Derecho

Carolina Alcalde

A 38-year-old D.C. woman is fighting for her life after being severely injured during Friday night's terrible storm.

Carolina Alcalde was riding her motorcycle up 15th Street NW when a pine tree crashed down on her back, severing her spinal cord and breaking five ribs and a shoulder. She also suffered trauma to her lungs and is paralyzed from the mid-section down. She is in intensive care at George Washington University Hospital.

“Today was the first day that she was able to answer us, and kept a very slow, very weak conversation with her, but at least she recognized us,” said her father, Victor Alcalde.

He said his daughter was able to tell him she was in a lot of pain.

He's touched by the fact that friends have set up a donation campaign to help pay his daughter's medical expenses, which could exceed $250,000 for just the first year of recovery.

“I am very emotional every time I see this help that we are receiving, my wife and I, from everybody as they find out about the tragedy,” Victor Alcalde said.

Campo Caro has launched a website, a Facebook group and the #campocaro Twitter hash tag. Click here to make donations.

Carolina Alcalde, an avid motorcyclist, also mentors young Latinas.

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