A Decatur woman left brain-damaged by a drunk driver is in China for six weeks of potentially life-changing bone marrow stem cell therapy. Jackie Murphree and her dad arrived April 6 a the Tiantan Puhua Hospital Stem Cell Treatment Center in Beijing.
"If we could get her more comfort with her arms and hands, and know she can understand what we're saying and asking, just communicate, that would be nice," said Murphree.
In 2007, Jackie was a 20-year-old senior at Texas A&M. She was home in Decatur for a summer internship at Sewell Lexus in Dallas. On Aug. 17, less than a mile from home, a drunk driver hit Jackie's car causing her traumatic brain injury.
"I remember Jackie as being really fun, goofy, always had something fun to say, a really neat spirit. People were always drawn to her," recalled sales associate Bobby Whitney.
The story of the summer intern named Jackie circulates through the dealership and recently caught the attention of sales associate Lee Hall.
"I saw the MySpace page and it really tugged at me," Hall said. "Every day we get discouraged and this guy traveled across the world for hope. This guy has hope, and I wanted to do something."
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So, Hall contacted Jackie's father through MySpace and offered to organize a benefit concert for her. Hall sells Hummers by day but on the side is a bassist in the band BluPearl. In six weeks, Hall and six co-workers organized Rock to Recovery, a one-night concert to help fund Jackie's stem cell treatments in China.
"He obviously has a good heart, but I thought, 'Wow! he's a gutsy guy to say I'll do this,'" said Murphree.
The concert is the latest event in an overwhelming community effort to support the Murphree family who lives in Decatur. When word got out that Patrick would take his 22-year-old daughter to China for treatment, the community sprung to action.
"The church decided to do a fundraiser and in two days, they had the entire amount. " Jackie's aunt Leisa Gage said. "$40,000. In two days, they had $40,000."
The Rock to Recovery benefit concert for Jackie Murphree happens at 8 p.m. Saturday at The Boardroom in Dallas' Victory Park. It will feature performances by local artists BluPearl and DJ So.Good. Tickets are $20 and are available at www.rocktorecovery.com or call (940) 597-1114.
Jackie and her dad will watch the concert via Skype. They'll be back from China on May 13.