Freak accident leaves St. Pete woman paralyzed

- When Chris Bragg called his 63-year-old mother, Leeca, but she didn't pick up her phone, he could sense something was wrong.

"I called my mother because I know she was babysitting, and I wanted to check on her," he said. "I thought it was a little weird. [I] called back 30 minutes later. No answer again."

Chris, a St. Pete police officer, drove to mom's house, knowing she was alone in her home with her 2-year-old granddaughter, Addison. When he got to her house, the front door was wide open. 

And when he walked into the house, he saw his mother on the floor. 

"Her eyes were looking directly at me, which is why I thought the worst about it," said Bragg. "When I approached her, she spoke, and the first thing she said was, 'Please help me.'"

An ambulance rushed Leeca to the hospital. X-Rays revealed she had a broken neck.

Her family is stunned to think a once vibrant and youthful Leeca may now spend the rest of her life paralyzed. They say how she fell is only slightly less unbelievable.

"She went to take a step backwards, away from the counter," said Bragg. "Addison just happened to walk behind her, and she didn't realize it. She tripped backwards."

Leeca hit her head on the handle of the oven door.

"I have been through family tragedies in the past, and this is unlike anything else," said her daughter-in-law, Felicia Bragg.

For two weeks, Leeca has been in the ICU at Bayfront Hospital. She is able to communicate with head nods. Her family is trying to raise money to afford her admittance to a rehab hospital in Atlanta, in hopes she will get some feeling back.

But they're going to have to retrofit her home to make it accessible.

"She told my father last week to tell us to stop crying," Chris Bragg said. "She wants us to be strong. If we are strong when we are with her, I think it is helping her a lot."

Still, she will likely be dependent on her husband of 44-years, and the rest of her family, for almost everything. The devoted grandmother of three never thought she'd be in those shoes at only 63-years-old.

"She loves her grand babies to death," Chris Bragg said. "She doesn't blame [Addison] or my brother or anybody for what happened. She understands it was an accident. She wishes she could have changed it and not fell."

The family's GoFundMe page is at https://www.gofundme.com/3jubiqw.

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