Communities rally, raise money for girl hurt in Stacyville accident

Posted June 11, 2010, at 3:51 p.m.
Last modified Jan. 29, 2011, at 11:54 a.m.

STACYVILLE, Maine — The 11-year-old girl who was seriously injured June 2 when a power line was knocked down onto her during a thunderstorm has had a big toe amputated, but doctors still are working on saving her leg.

As Allison Botting continues to recover at a Boston hospital from second- and third-degree burns suffered in the accident, members of her hometown and area communities are holding and planning fundraisers to help her family cover expenses.

Botting was injured outside her home at 913 Station Road when the thunderstorm blew a tree down onto power lines and sparked a fire. According to emergency responders, Botting, her sister Ashley Paradis, 18, and their mother’s boyfriend, Terry Holland, had gone outside to look at the burning tree when it fell to the ground, dragging the power line down with it. The line fell on top of Botting and Paradis, striking the backs of their legs.

Holland broke his arm and dislocated his shoulder when he was thrown across the yard after touching the power line to try to get it off Botting. Paradis suffered blisters and burns on her legs and feet and was treated, along with Holland, at Houlton Regional Hospital.

Botting, however, had to be transferred to Shriners Hospital in Boston, where she remains a patient.

Her great-grandmother Betty Campbell said Friday that doctors amputated Botting’s severely injured big toe earlier this week. Shortly after the accident, doctors began performing daily surgery to remove dead muscle and tissue from the girl’s leg. Campbell said Friday that doctors now are conducting surgery every other day.

“That is some good news, at least,” said Campbell. “They are still waiting to see if they will have to amputate her leg.”

Nicole Botting, who is the mother of Allison Botting and Paradis, remains by her daughter’s side in Boston. Paradis was in Boston for a week but has returned to Stacyville to attend her graduation from Katahdin High School today.

Campbell said that Paradis is still experiencing burning pain in her legs and remains on crutches.

Immediately after the accident, officials at the Stacyville town office began collecting money for the family. While care at Shriners is free, there are other medical costs already associated with the accident, as well as the out-of-pocket expenses to be with Allison in Boston.

An official at the town office said Friday that supporters already have donated $2,800 to the family, and checks continue to come in.

Others also are trying to help.

Craig Hartsgrove, who owns Craig’s Maine Course in Island Falls and Craig’s Clam Shop in Patten, said both restaurants held benefit suppers for the family on Thursday evening.

“The turnout was tremendous,” Hartsgrove said Friday. “We raised $8,300 between both restaurants, plus other pending donations that total about $3,000. We expect to raise $11,000 for the family once all of the donations are collected.”

Hartsgrove said that he was overwhelmed by the response from people in the region.

“The turnout maxed out the capabilities of both places,” he said. “There was a two-hour wait at both places and it still didn’t deter people from standing there in order to help this family. It was just amazing.”

Members of the Island Falls Fire and Ambulance Department are sponsoring a BBQ & Blues Benefit 4-9 p.m. June 26 at the Island Falls town office. The minimum suggested donation for the event is $10.

Food will be prepared and served by emergency service volunteers, and local businesses are donating goods and services to be raffled off. Donations for raffle items still are being accepted.

The evening will wrap up with a live performance by the blues band Doubletap.

Campbell said that she and her family are overwhelmed by the response from area residents.

“You know that you live in a close-knit community,” she said. “But seeing how much people really care is one of the best things in the world.”

Donations can be mailed to the Stacyville town office, P.O. Box 116, Stacyville 04777. Checks can be made payable to Nicole Botting. Note that the donation is for the Botting family in the memo line.

For information on the June 26 benefit, reach Joseph Levesque III, ambulance director for Island Falls Fire and Ambulance, at 540-4286 or e-mail iffd708@gmail.com.

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