POSTED: Friday, March 22, 2013 - 11:57am
UPDATED: Friday, March 22, 2013 - 2:59pm
BATON ROUGE, LA (NBC33) — Sarah Garza spent New Year’s Day in the hospital after she was knocked off her bike by a hit-and-run driver. Along with lingering pain from her injuries, she now has roughly $10,000 in medical bills. Tonight, members of the community hope to change that.
“I saw the article online about Sarah  and it sparked some interest because I have seen her in passing here and there, and it reminded me of what happened with a bunch of my friends,” Otto Orellana, a local DJ, said. “My friend Travis Hill was recently hit and I was good friends with Nathan Crowson [who was killed by a drunk driver on Perkins Road]. I felt like it was my obligation to bring some awareness to it and try and help her pay for some of her hospital bills.”
Orellana contacted Garza for permission to host a fundraiser in her name. She agreed and the wheels were set in motion.
“It feels very humbling,” Garza said when explaining her emotions about the fundraiser. “I feel very thankful that I have friends and people around me that are here for me. I feel the love and support.”
Because the driver who caused the crash was never apprehended , Garza is left to pay her medical bills out of pocket. Her insurance only covered roughly $2,000 of the expense. What’s more, she was unable to work for roughly a month-and-a-half due to her injuries.
“I am still hurting,” she said. “I lost a lot of movement in my right foot. I don’t know why. I haven’t been to the doctor lately because I can’t afford it. After three months, I’ve just learned to live with the pain.”
Hopefully, some of that pain will be relieved tonight.
“We want to celebrate the fact that she’s not a fatality and that she is okay and here with us today,” Orellana said. “A lot of businesses have pitched in and offered prizes that we’re going to raffle away. You can buy a ticket for just $2.”
But more than just raising funds, Orellana and Garza hope tonight will help make people more aware of cyclists on the road.
“I hope they walk away with a sense of responsibility and to be more aware of bicyclists,” Garza said. “I hope the next time they pass one they will feel a need to be more careful.”
The fundraiser will begin on Friday, March 22 at 6:00 p.m. at Radio Bar on Government Street. The raffle will conclude at 9:00 p.m.
Click here  to read the original report about Garza's crash.