PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) - In June of last year, a diving accident changed Katy Blake's life forever. It left the 24-year-old Pascagoula woman unable to move from her chest down. But that's not about to keep Katy down.
Special equipment helps her move her hands, and enjoy her favorite hobby: painting. But problems with Medicare and insurance prevent her from getting more equipment. That's where friends have stepped in, selling T-shirts on Katy's Facebook page.
Facebook is also where she met her best friend, Laura Cole.
"As of today, we've turned in our second order to Southern Belle," Cole said. "But altogether, we've sold 1271 shirts, which leaves Katy, her share is almost about $8000."
Katy exercises every day, building her strength with homemade equipment. Her mom, Sara, says Katy has a stubborn streak that serves her well.
"Like she told the doctors, 'I will walk one day.' And she's going to do it one way or the other."
The amazing thing about Katy is her incredible attitude. Many people in her position might feel sorry for themselves, but not Katy. In fact, she's never lost her sense of humor. About the accident that took away her mobility, she jokes, "It was a great dive, just a bad location."
"From the get go, I decided there were two ways to handle this," Katy said. "I could be upset and I could cry and mope, and each day could be miserable, or I can make the best out of a bad situation and make people around me laugh."
More T-shirts need packing up, each with a personalized thank-you tag from Katy. She said this is an operation that might change her life.
"With the help of the T-shirt sales and other fundraisers I've got going on, people have been making donations, so I'm just trying to get money so I can get back to re-hab."
And there's no doubt she will do just that.
To learn more about Katy's journey to get back into rehab, visit her Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/RehabforKaty?sk=info.