What was thought to be a regular day of attending classes at Cal Poly Humboldt on Sept. 1 turned into a life-threatening situation for Madelyn Vink, a Turlock native and Pitman High alumnus.
The senior studying religious studies and sociology was hit by a vehicle on campus at the intersection of Rossow and Harpst in Arcata, California. She was rushed to the intensive care unit in Santa Rosa and found to have fractured her pelvis and C1 vertebrae, broke ribs, sustained a substantial laceration to her head and four life-threatening brain bleeds. According to doctors, the injuries resulted from serious hits from the car and from hitting the ground.
Vink was one of two students who were struck by the driver. The other was released from a nearby hospital the same day. Vink was supposed to be flown to Santa Rosa for treatment, but weather conditions put her in an ambulance instead in what turned out to be a nearly four-hour drive.
The driver remained on scene and Cal Poly Humboldt’s university police are investigating the incident.
Cousins Emerson Vink and Zach Burkes have set up a GoFundMe page (https://bit.ly/461hFwQ) on behalf of Vink’s parents, Chris and Keira, to help pay for medical bills, Vink’s apartment rent, travel and accommodation.
“Maddy has always been someone who embraced the world fully. She has a deep love for Humboldt County, drawn to the inclusivity and warmth of the people there,” said Emerson. “A lover of art, she dreams of one day becoming a museum art curator, a role where she believes she can use art's unique power to heal, inspire and unite communities.
“Madelyn carries a heart full of compassion and commitment to the well-being of others, always ready to lend a hand where it's needed most. She has a special appreciation for the rich history and culture of the Indigenous communities in Humboldt County and is eager to be a part of initiatives uplifting them,” he continued.
The GoFundMe originally had a goal of raising $25,000, but it has since been raised to $40,000 as the family continued to grasp the full scope of Vink’s medical needs.
“This adjustment reflects a realistic estimation of the medical bills, ongoing care, and other unforeseen expenses that are beginning to mount,” Burkes said in an update. “Our primary goal remains to alleviate the financial strain on Maddy and her parents as much as possible, enabling them to focus fully on Maddy's recovery without the added stress of mounting bills. Thank you once again for standing with us. Every contribution, big or small, is a beacon of hope and a testament to the kind and caring community that surrounds Maddy.”