Joy Kuppinger, 16, a Joseph High School junior who was critically hurt in a one-vehicle accident Tuesday, Dec. 10, has been on the mend at Deaconness Medical Center in Spokane, and was scheduled to come home Sunday, Dec. 22, in time for Christmas.
"She's doing wonderful. The doctors are very pleased with her progress," said Cammie Hale, Joy's older sister, last week.
While the accident victim remained in the intensive care unit as of last Friday, Hale said that was only a precaution. "She still can't get up very well, but as soon as she can, I know she'll be going like a madwoman."
In the accident Kuppinger sustained nine broken ribs, a punctured lung and a broken pelvis, a "wing tip" fracture. Doctors also opened and washed out a deep hip puncture last week.
The accident occured just north of Joseph Dec. 10 when the Toyota pickup she was driving slid off of icy Highway 84 and hit a fence.
Hale, her father Tad and sister Tessa, 13, returned to Wallowa County for work and school at the end of the weekend of the accident, but her mother Denise remained in Spokane with Joy until she was ready to come home. "She won't leave," said Hale last week.
Hale said that the first things her younger sister wanted to know is if she would be able to ride horses and if she would be able to play basketball. "Her doctors said if she is able to play basketball this season, they wanted to see the pictures," Hale laughed.
Kuppinger, a gold medallion winner at the Oregon State Fair horse show this fall, is a member of the 2003 Chief Joseph Days Court.
At their rodeo committee meeting Monday night , Dec. 16,the Joseph Chamber of Commerce started a raffle for a polar fleece blanket, pillow and teddy bear acquired in Las Vegas during the recent National Rodeo Finals. Tickets are available at the Joseph chamber office, and the drawing will be held at the chamber's New Years Eve dance. All proceeds will go to help the Kuppingers with expenses.
An account has also been set up to help Joy Kuppinger at Community Bank, P.O. Box X, Joseph OR 97846.
"Joy is thankful for so many prayers, cards and the support she's received. It's helped her get through this," said her big sister. "There have been a lot of letters and love."
At deadline time, the Kuppingers were all looking forward to having Joy home for Christmas.