UPDATE: 7-Eleven survivor recovering, helped by donations
MOORE, Okla. — We are checking back in on a Moore tornado survivor who has touched many of our hearts, Edith Morales.
Morales took cover with several others inside the 7-Eleven at the corner of S.W. 4th St. and Telephone Road in Moore.
The 7-Eleven took a direct hit. It was decimated by the storm.
Three people inside the convenience store didn’t make it out alive.
Terri Long, 49, Megan Futrell, 29, and Case Futrell, four months, died inside the 7-Eleven.
Edith Morales did her first interview with KFOR 50 days after the May 20 tornado.
At the time, she was still in the Intensive Care Unit at Integris Southwest Medical Center, barely breathing on her own, she hadn’t spoken since the storm.
Her first words were spoken on-camera, were fragmented recall about the terror inside the bathroom at 7-Eleven.
“It was bad. The wind was, it was screaming.” remembered Morales. “There’s been times I didn’t think I was gonna make it.”
When we first met Edy she was sort-of trapped in the hospital; not healthy enough to go home and not wealthy enough to afford long-term care.
Edith doesn’t have health insurance and that means, no admission to a long-term live-in rehabilitation facility.
Edith is can get out of bed with assistance, to sit in a chair.
She does 20 minutes of physical therapy each day.
Her left arm, which was surgically attached to her abdomen to help her skin heal, has been separated and she can move several fingers.
“To sit in a chair has been a big accomplishment. I was worried if I’d be able to physically sit, being paralyzed and everything. I can sit in a chair.” Morales said.
Edith has new glasses, provided by viewers who came to the hospital, updated her prescription and fit her for new frames.
Her window ledge is lined with crayola well-wishes from around the globe from people who saw her story and wanted to write.
“It’s been really inspirational when you get a card that says they’re praying for you and everything. That means a lot.” said Morales. “Especially if I’m hurting too much that day, and it feels like I can’t take anymore. Then, it helps.”
The support has been overwhelming.
Another viewer donated an expensive power wheelchair.
It’s exactly the right size for Edy’s small frame, when she’s ready to use it.
Major Brian Jennings pulled Edith out of the rubble that day.
“Everyone there was covered in dirt and mud and debris, and so it was hard to distinguish who was who at that time.” said Jennings. He remembers Edy’s injuries were some of the worst at the 7-Eleven.
Jennings, like so many, is thrilled with her progress.
“I just briefly told her that we were thinking of her and hoped she recovers well and if she needed anything to let us know.” said Jennings.
Edith’s daughter Christina Morales is by her side every day and every night.
“Her breathing is ten times better. Her voice is almost normal. Like it sounded before everything happened.” said Christina. “Things have been really good. They’ve taken really good care of her.”
The Red Cross of Oklahoma is paying the bill with dollars raised after the Moore tornado.
They coordinated with several other organizations to make sure Edy’s needs were met.
“The red cross as just been fantastic. They’ve been in contact with me very consistently.” said Christina Morales.
Edith can tolerate 25 minutes of therapy a day. She tires easily and there is still a lot of pain, but her sister, Janet Rudolph says, she gets stronger every day.
“It is remarkable. We’re very proud of her. She’s got a long road. But she’s toughing it out. She’s working hard.” said Rudolph. “We love her, and we want to thank everybody out there for all of their concerns and prayers and help.”
Edith Morales has come so far, and still has quite a long road ahead.
The Morales family has set up a contribution account at BancFirst. Mail checks to:
Donations for Edith Morales
PO Box 26788
Oklahoma City, OK 73126