USF student injured in Cuba returning home

- Most can agree, Barbie Jimenez is a fighter. Weeks after a deadly car accident in Cuba, the USF senior, who was critically injured, has clawed her way back to life.

"Obviously, by the grace of God, she's made tremendous improvements. She's a strong willed individual. There was no doubt in my mind that she was going to be able to come out of this," Barbie's sister, Caridad Jimenez said Wednesday.

Since the early August accident, Barbie's USF sorority sisters have been rallying for help to get her back home. Wednesday morning, the girls lining the walls of a campus conference room got the response they were waiting for.

"We anticipate it will be as soon as Friday," U.S. Congressman David Jolly said.

Jolly was contacted by Lambda Theta Alpha earlier this month. The girls told him their sister was essentially stuck in Cuba, with no health insurance and no way to safely get home.

While working out the logistics, Jolly was contacted by Mike Honeycut. His Hernando County company has volunteered to pick Barbie up, all expenses paid.

"I've been blessed as a company in the Tampa Bay area. I feel, whenever you can, you should give back to your community," Honeycut said.

He's the co-owner of Jet ICU, a company providing ambulances in the air.

"We'll have a full team flying down to Cuba in one of our Learjets. The jets are completely ICU ready. The name says it all," Jet ICU's Dr. Carlos Smith said Wednesday.

The ride from Cuba to Tampa General Hospital would normally cost upwards of $20,000.

Caridad says the help is already healing her sister's heart.

"I've been speechless seeing all the support my sister's been receiving, nationwide. But particularly, how the Tampa Bay community's come together to bring my sister home," Caridad said.

Jimenez's sister says travel insurance Barbie purchased before the trip will cover the cost of her medical expenses in Cuba. Money raised from a GoFundMe account will go towards her future care at Tampa General Hospital.

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