Monday, December 1, 2008

Left to die, she fought to live

By Megan Tilk
September 21, 2008
Photo: Zachary Siebert: News-Press
FAUCETT, Mo. —The 19-year-old’s beaming green eyes and giant smile almost hide the scar that stands as a reminder of a night that could have ended her life.
Kimberly Dejonge was living what seemed a normal life. Residing in Atchison, Kan., and working as a convenience store clerk, she never thought she would fall victim to a criminal.
The night of June 19, she was working at the Stop-N-Go in Winthrop, Mo., when a man entered the store, slit her throat and stabbed her multiple times. The man robbed the store then took off, leaving Ms. Dejonge to die.
Seeing Ms. Dejonge Saturday, one never would have guessed the horror she had suffered were it not for her scars.
Surrounded by family, friends and some unfamiliar faces, Ms. Dejonge shined. Everyone gathered in her honor in hopes of raising enough money to cover mounting medical bills.
Friends of the family George and Laurie Duncan, along with Jim Corkins, hosted a benefit for Ms. Dejonge on a farm just outside of Faucett, Mo., Saturday afternoon.
“Kimmy has always had the greatest personality ever,” Ms. Duncan said, fighting off tears. “Words can’t describe this child.”
For Ms. Dejonge’s older brother, Jason Dejonge, the night was unbelievable.
“My first thought was, ‘She’s dead.’” Mr. Dejonge said.
Mr. Dejonge remembers the doctors discussing the possibility of brain damage while Ms. Dejonge was in surgery. Now he likes to think that he helped play a part in what kept her alive.
“Me, our brother and our grandpa raised her to be tough,” Mr. Dejonge said. “I just hope she doesn’t take it for granted that she’s still alive. It was an eye-opener for everyone.”
Ms. Dejonge remembers that night from a different perspective.
“My first thought was, ‘I’m going to die like this,’” Ms. Dejonge recalls. “The second thought was, ‘I have too much to live for, I’m going to fight to the end,’ and that’s what I did. I just fought as hard as I could.”
Ms. Dejonge has a few more doctor visits in her future but looks to be cleared from physical therapy soon. She also plans to attend Heritage College in Kansas City.
Ms. Dejonge said she doesn’t harbor any hard feelings.
“Every day is a good day to wake up,” Ms. Dejonge said.
Sean E. Cave, 38, of Atchison, Kan., has been charged with first-degree assault, first-degree robbery and armed criminal action. He remains in the Buchanan County Jail.
Anyone wishing to donate to the Benefit for Kimberly Dejonge can send donations to 2868 S.E. Halleck Road, Faucett, MO 64448.

No comments: