Harlem High School employee injured in boating accident, community creates Gofundme

ROCKFORD, Ill (WIFR) -- What was a normal family trip to Florida in early March quickly turned into a nightmare for one local family.

GoFundMe for Karen

"We had a swim with manatees in the morning, then we had an airboat tour in the afternoon," Keith Sofolo recalled. "Immediately there was another boat right there."

A head-on collision tossed the Sofolo family from the boat. Two of Karen and Keith's children, Luke and Lexi, suffered minor injuries. However, Karen and Keith were in bad shape.

After seeing Lexi walking to shore, Keith called out for Luke. "Luke yelled back, 'Dad, mom's hurt.'" Karen clung onto her son in the water. Her legs were broken, and her left foot was severed.

Luke and Keith, who was suffering from broken facial bones, a severe concussion and broken arm, hoisted Karen onto a boat. Keith explains another boater, who he calls a "good samaritan" saw what happened and quickly helped.

Holding back tears, Keith continued to explain what happened next. "And I said, give me your shirt, I need to put a tourniquet on. So I put a tourniquet above my wife's knee."

Later on a paramedic told Keith the tourniquet likely saved Karen's leg and her life. He says he also believes it was an act of God's grace.

Thursday Karen underwent her sixth surgery at OSF Saint Anthony's Hospital. She was transported from Hudson Florida back to Rockford because the COVID-19 pandemic was spreading. The family cannot visit Karen due to the spike of the virus.

Karen is a social worker at Harlem High School. A coworker took it upon herself to create a gofundme page to help the family.

"Anything she can do to help others she's willing to," says coworker Kellie Hood. "It's just like what can we do to help her. We can't go see her family we can't visit in the hospital."

The community stepped up to help.

"It really is beautiful seeing everyone come together," says Karen's daughter Lexi. "I know my mom deserves it she's truly an amazing person."

Keith agrees. He says the community's undeniable support in prayers is helping them get through this hardship. "There's more good in the world, there's more light than darkness."