On Sunday August 2, Alysia Kezerian, a 21-year-old University of Oregon student and president of her Pi Beta Phi chapter, decided to go hiking. She went up to Smith Rock State Park to take in the breathtaking views, serenity of nature, and appreciate the beauty of life.
Unfortunately, in a devastating twist of fate, the trip didn’t end with mental clarity and some perfect, Instagram-worthy pictures.
According to The Register-Guard, Alysia was hiking on Misery Ridge Trail (seriously, the trail’s name was “Misery”) with her friend, Jennifer Kirst. Alysia left the trail to climb a nearby rock, and that’s when everything went wrong.
From The Register-Guard:
Kezerian fell 8 to 10 feet after leaving the trail and climbing a nearly vertical section of rock, then slid an additional 20 to 30 feet before stopping.
Kezerian suffered injuries that were serious but not believed to be life-threatening, officials said. She was taken to St. Charles Medical Center in Bend.
Kezerian was rescued by a Search & Rescue member who had been climbing at Smith Rock, officials said. He used a makeshift harness to stop Kezerian from sliding further, and other rescuers lifted her back to the trail.
Kezerian’s friend, fellow UO student Jennifer Kirst of Woodside, Calif., called 911 at 1:15 p.m. to alert dispatchers about Kezerian’s fall. Kezerian and Kirst did not have any rock-climbing equipment with them and were visiting Smith Rock for the first time, officials said.
The fall left Alysia paralyzed from the waist down, which for most people, would be absolutely devastating. But Alysia isn’t “most people.” In a touching Instagram post (see, she still got an Insta pic) she described this ordeal, took a moment to reflect on her own life, and made people around the world realize just how phenomenal this aspiring woman is.
The rock didn't ruin my life. It didn't take from me anything and everyone l love. It won't stop me from doing the things I love. However, it did put me in situations of excruciating and blinding pain, the questioning of the worth of my own life, and took away my ability to walk. But I'll be damned if I let ANY of that affect me any further. I'm fighting back and am fighting back harder than ever! Thank you all for your constant words of encouragement. They have saved my life.
A Give Forward page has been created to help alleviate Alysia’s family of some of the costs of her multiple surgeries. In the short amount of time it has been up, the page has already received over $61,000 in donations. It’s no mystery that this woman, who was scheduled to start her senior year of college any day now, is not only an amazing leader and phenomenal student, but she’s a truly beautiful person and friend. As Alysia is faced with one of the biggest struggles in her life, we can’t help but be amazed and inspired by her attitude. Even though it’s going to be a hard road ahead, everyone is glad that she had an angel by her side on the day of her fall.
Our thoughts and best wishes go out to Alysia, her family, and the Pi Beta Phi chapter at the University of Oregon. It’s time to use your wings to lift a fallen sister. PPLAM..
To donate to Alysia and her family, click here.
Image via Instagram / Alysia Kezerian