Hoffmann Hospice donates transport van to family of girl injured by suspected drunk driver

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Franklin Elias walked out of his south Bakersfield home Thursday to find a non-emergency transport van parked in front. Little did he know — thanks to a donation from Hoffmann Hospice — the van is now his.

For the last eight months, he has taken care of his immobile 13-year-old daughter Emmy. She and her cousin, Ariani, were significantly injured after midnight on Christmas Morning when a suspected drunk driver plowed into the car carrying the two girls at the intersection of Niles Street and Sterling Road in East Bakersfield.

Ariani sustained serious brain injuries that remain to this day, but she can walk. 240 days after the incident, Emmy remains unable to talk or walk, which is why her father said the vehicle is especially significant for Emmy and her family.

“I never, ever expected this,” said Elias’s father. He expressed gratitude for Hoffman Hospice’s donation.

“There’s no words to explain that. To have this, we can take Emmy anywhere [including] her appointments. it’s going to be a huge help for us.”

Darci Nieto of Hoffmann Hospice shared words of encouragement with the family.

“We believe in her. We believe in Emmy,” Nieto said. “Her parents are so loving and supportive. If we can even give her better quality of life — even if we can’t extend, but give them a better quality of life — that’s our goal,” she continued.

Elias, in tears, said the generous donation gave me a newfound hope for his daughter.

“She’s my princess. My hope for the future for my daughter is that she is going to get better,” he said.

While Emmy is on hospice, medical professionals said she is slowly improving. The family is working with their insurance to find a healthcare provider for neurological treatment.

You can donate to the family’s GoFundMe account here.

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