Smithfield shooting victim Deserae Turner hopes to raise funds for robotic left arm

Deserae Turner. Image: GoFundMe

CACHE COUNTY, Utah, Feb. 22, 2020 (Gephardt Daily) — The mother of Deserae Turner — the Smithfield teen shot by a classmate and left for dead three years ago — is asking supporters to help raise funds for the purchase of a robotic prosthetic left arm for Deserae.

A GoFundMe account has been set up by April Turner to fund the purchase, and to help pay related therapy and travel costs. Deserae has not had use of her left arm since she was shot in the head. The teen’s hand was left in a permanent fist, she has said.

“Deserae Turner was a crime victim at age 14,” the page says. “Three years ago, Des was shot in the back of the head, and left for dead in a canal. Found over 8 hours later, Des made a miraculous comeback, but left with permanent disabilities and severe daily headaches. Des had to learn to do everything again, she continues to give it her all at therapies and at life, she will even graduate high school on time with her class.”

“All money supports Deserae as she continues to recover from a gunshot wound traumatic brain injury. Out of pocket costs, travel costs, care, therapies, and more. Your contribution will help Des on her next step to get a robotic left arm prosthesis ($58,000) and a three week Neuro rehabilitation clinic visit ($10,000) plus travel expenses,” Heather Turner’s statement says.

The GoFundMe statement says that “After three years of countless medical costs, we can’t do this without your help. Insurance is a battle that we will fight, but it’s not in our favor as these are ‘not covered,’ ‘not in network’ and so forth.

“Thank you for your awesome support. We appreciate each and every donation.”

As of Saturday morning, the GoFundMe had raised more than $18,800 of the $68,000 goal. For updates, click here.

It was Feb. 17, 2017 when Deserae Turner was lured away from Smithfield High School to a dry irrigation ditch by two 16-year-old classmates, then shot in the head, robbed, and left for dead.

She was found hours later and rushed to a local hospital, then to Primary Children’s Hospital, where she remained for more than nine weeks.

The teen boys, Jayzon Decker and Colter Peterson, were found guilty of aggravated attempted murder and other charges, and are serving prison time.

Since then, Turner, left partially paralyzed, has fought to regain as many physical abilities as possible, undergoing multiple surgeries and therapies.

Last summer, Turner used her story to advocate for gun safety, handing out gun locks earlier this year at the Cache County Fair.

If anyone could be forgiven for a little negativity, it would be Turner. But the teen — voted her school’s 2019 Homecoming queen — has chosen to turn negatives in her life into positives.

She released a letter expressing her gratitude last Thanksgiving season. Read it, in full, below:

Having a brain injury I have realized I am grateful for many things. I am really grateful for the way I am. I know I am not perfect nor will I ever be perfect in this life. I am grateful for what I do have, I am very blessed to be alive and well.

I am beyond grateful for all those who are willing to help in whatever way they can. I really could not have survived if my heroes wouldn’t have found me. I am so grateful for my parents and siblings who have kept me going when times got hard. I am so grateful for my dog who is there to help me when I’ve fallen (not just figuratively) and my friends who have stayed with me.

I am extremely grateful, like you guys have no idea how grateful for modern medicine and Tylenol. I hope you all can find the many beautiful reasons to be happy! Happy Thanksgiving!?? — Deserae Turner


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