Clifford continues to make slow strides in long road to recovery

August 31, 2016

13966753_1472173468.5311A week ago, Lorrie Clifford of Eagle River needed a machine to help her breathe.

Thankfully now she’s able to do that on her own.

The 25-year-old Alaska athlete continues to make slow strides in her recovery after fracturing her vertebrae in a violent vehicle crash last week while on vacation in Honolulu, Hawaii.

Clifford, of Chugiak High fame, remains at the Queens Medical Center and her family is posting updates on her condition on her GoFundMe page, which has raised $33,950 in the last seven days to offset medical costs.

Two days ago, nurses took Clifford outside for a breath of fresh air. Yesterday she sat up and with help sat on the edge of her hospital bed for 10 minutes.

“She is working on cutting her oxygen down baby steps last few days,” the family wrote.

The goal is to get Clifford out of the hospital and into a rehabilitation center.

The family has been overwhelmed with the amazing support Clifford has received since news of her accident became known in Alaska [where she went to high school] and Oregon [where she went to college].

“Thanks gain for your posts, thoughts, prayers,” the family wrote. “It all helps keep Lorrie strong!”

A flag football and basketball all-star for Chugiak, Clifford went on to become a starting guard at Western Oregon University from 2009 to 2013. Then she discovered rugby.

Clifford has been a member of the Team USA 7s national club since 2013 and played a key role during qualifying to help the Americans advance to the Olympics, although she wasn’t named to the final roster that went to Rio.

Nonetheless, Clifford’s athletic career has been an inspiration to many Alaskans.

Even from her hospital bed, she continues to be a beacon of light in her darkest time.

Her family discovered a bible verse on a Post-it note in her wallet. It read:

But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.

“She read it before every game,” her family wrote. “now I hope she can continue to read it and find that same strength to keep pushing everyday through this difficult journey.”