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Rocklin girl remains in ICU after sledding accident

City rallies for Lauren; raises more than $5,000 so far
By: Lauren Gibbs, The Placer Herald
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What started as a family snow day, turned terribly wrong for the Jones family of Rocklin. On March 27, the family of four made their way to the Lake Tahoe area for sledding. “We just went sledding for the day,” Jason Jones said. “But Lauren had to go to the top.” Sledding down the hill, Lauren collided with two small trees on the hill. Now, the family has put life on hold to tend to 10-year-old Lauren. She is in the Intensive Care Unit at Reno’s Renown Regional Medical Center for a number of injuries including a fractured skull, four bruised ribs and a broken leg. She was put into a drug-induced coma. And Lauren was also hooked up to a ventilator, which has recently been removed, and a feeding tube among other things, to keep her as comfortable as possible. “We were told that we are very lucky,” Lauren’s father Jason said. “She’s aware and alert as good as she can be.” Jason and his wife Sally Jones have been in Reno since the accident, but have been keeping family and friends updated on Lauren’s daily progress via a CaringBridge Web site. “I can’t believe that Jason and I are sitting here doing this.  I can’t believe our wonderful, lovely, caring, feisty, unique and determined daughter is in intensive care. But she is,” Sally wrote on the Web site. “No one knows their future and for some reason this horrible accident is now our present.” The Jones family chose to relocate to Rocklin in 2001 and have recently learned first-hand that it’s more than just a nice community. “The way Rocklin has embraced her, it’s just … I don’t know if we can ever reach out to everyone and thank them,” Jason Jones said. “The support has been phenomenal. We need it.” Patti Murphy, Lauren’s cheerleading coach with Rocklin Junior Thunder, said more than $5,000 has been raised for the Jones family so far through fundraisers. The Pizza Place in Rocklin recently held a fundraising night, Rocklin Junior Thunder has included a donation link on their Web site and other youth sports groups are working on events as well, Murphy said. “They’ve been given a lot of support,” she said. At Parker Whitney Elementary School, where Lauren and her brother Robert attend, they have set up a box in the front office welcoming get well wishes and cards that will be given to the family, Principal Denny Rush said. “I imagine that box will be filled in a day or two,” Rush said. Rush said the student government at Parker Whitney is also planning a fundraiser for the family. “It’s a wonderful, wonderful community that we live in,” Rush said. “They’ve been very concerned, very caring.” For the last year, Lauren has been a cheerleader with Rocklin Junior Thunder and previously on Junior Pee Wee cheer. Murphy said Lauren serves as one of the girls lifted into the air on the cheer squad. If she ever fell, she would get right back up again, Murphy said. “She just never gives up,” Murphy said. “She’s just a little fighter. She really is a really great little kid.” Jason Jones said Lauren continues to improve daily, becoming more aware and responsive, but they have a while to go. Leg surgery was scheduled for Wednesday, which is a step forward, Jason Jones said. “It’s the first day of many where we can really start finding out where she’s at,” he said. Until then, Lauren remains in the ICU at Renown Regional Medical Center in Reno and Jason Jones said he credits the hospital for his daughter’s continued progress. “This place is the best,” he said. “They’re part of my life … they’ve saved my daughter’s life. You think these things always happen to other people. Here I am; other people.” To make a donation to support the Jones family, go to www.jrthunder.com. To follow Lauren’s progress, visit the CaringBridge Web site at www.caringbridge.org/visit/sallyjones.