I am Cristina Maria Gomez; I had a bright future ahead, but today I lay trapped in my body. Tragedy struck for me on May 12, 2014, it was the day after Mother's Day. I was a 22 year old Senior at Florida International University. On that horrific day, when my body tumbled onto concrete from the bridge I always ran on, my brain suffered devastating injuries. Once paramedics arrived, my heart stopped beating twice, and twice I was shocked back to life in an ambulance. My cell phone rang numerous times as my Father frantically called me. I never answered that call, but my Father wouldn't give up. The phone continued to ring, and his heart stopped when a man answered at the other end. At first he thought perhaps I had been kidnapped, but then he learned that he was speaking to a police officer....and so I was rushed to a trauma unit as my family was called. At first, everyone was confused thinking it was just a simple running accident, but soon enough they learned that they would never hear my voice again. "She will never be the person you knew", Doctors said.
I have endured what no human being should endure as my brain quickly began to shut down...unable to manage functions like regulating body temperature, my heart rate, and my breathing. As I lay in a bed of ice, I shivered uncontrollably. I was frequently surrounded by my trauma team as my cranial pressure increased, my punctured lungs gave up.....and soon I found myself on life support. My family was told I would not make it past the night, this they heard many times, and so many friends surrounded my family as the prayers poured in. It is then that they began to call me CRISTINASTRONG, not because I felt strong at that moment, but because I wouldn't give up the fight. In the months that followed, my family never gave up....they remained by my side as life nearly left me time and time again. I underwent numerous brain surgeries and my body now contains titanium, and other foreign objects which make living possible. Seizures and strokes followed, but I hung on to life.
Teaching and running were my passion, and up until my accident, I lived to help others. My family and friends will continue to do the work I once did by helping others. I am unable to speak, unable to move, but my voice is heard through those who love me. I still have a long way to go, but my story is not over.
CRISTINA'S CURRENT STATE
As a result of her accident, Cristina suffered severe head trauma and was in a coma for nearly two months in the Trauma Center in Miami, Florida. At the end of June 2014, Cristina was airlifted out of state to Shepherd Center - a highly specialized Traumatic Brain Injury & Spinal Cord Rehab
Facility. Cristina was transported there in an effort to give her the best chance at
recovery, as Shepherd Center is one of the best Rehab facilities in the world. Since her fall, Cristina has undergone numerous brain surgeries but in July Shepherd Center was able to get her out of the coma, and so Cristina is currently in a "Minimally Conscious State." She has suffered a couple of strokes which unfortunately set back her rehabilitation process. On November 6, 2014, Cristina was airlifted back to Miami, where she is being cared for at home by her Father. Cristina still requires 24/7 care; as she is still on a feeding tube, and unable to communicate or move. Despite the numerous challenges and setbacks, Cristina continues to fight. You can usually find her at home, by the lake with her Dad as he takes her for a stroll. Friends and family are always welcome to visit!
CRISTINA M. GOMEZ TBI FOUNDATION....HER LEGACY LIVES ON!
In 2015, Cristina's family established The Cristina M. Gomez TBI Foundation, in an effort to help families of TBI patients recover.
CRISTINA'S STORY MAKES IT TO CONGRESS!!
On July 23, 2015, Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen took Cristina's story before the House of Representatives. This was a very emotional moment for Cristina's parents, and we are thankful for it. The Congresswoman will be attending our 5K Event this year!
Last Updated by Ana T. Marquez, on September 8, 2015