Two fundraisers planned for Placer High student

Recent crash involved eight teens
By: Amber Marra, Journal Staff Writer
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Two unlikely groups will work for the same cause this weekend in Auburn.

Cyclists and hairdressers will hold separate fundraisers for Andrew Carducci, a Placer High School student injured in a car accident recently on Interstate 80.

Carducci is one of eight Placer High students in a Chevy Trailblazer that flipped while entering the interstate in September. The students were off campus during lunch when the accident happened.

All but two of the students in the car were taken to area hospitals, but Carducci's injuries were serious enough to warrant a flight via CalStar. His soccer coach later confirmed that he had a fractured skull and a severe concussion after being partially ejected from the Trailblazer that day.

The accident prompted Jerrold Garrard, a friend of the Carducci family, to establish the Andrew Carducci fund at US Bank.

Kelly Carducci, Andrew's mom, said he has relearned to sit, swallow, stand and walk. He can also run and play ping pong as this point, though he isn't ready to get back to the varsity tennis or soccer teams he played on at Placer.

"He's doing better than any of the doctors expected," she said. "He's definitely Andrew again. Something changed last Sunday where he went from making baby steps to making a giant leap."

Though Andrew is home now, he has physical therapy daily through the Rehab Without Walls program. Kelly also said he will need some additional surgery to help with lingering eye problems.

In addition to her son's "mental toughness," Kelly said he has rallied partially because of the amount of support from the community.

"Initially it looked pretty bleak when we were talking to the neurosurgeons and it seemed pretty scary because they said he might never be the same again, but he just kept surprising them with his progress," she said.

Saturday marks the first of the two fundraisers to help the Carducci family pay for some of the hospital bills since the accident. The Tour of Placer bike race starts on Saturday behind Victory Velo Bike Shop in Auburn and all proceeds will go toward the Andrew Carducci Fund.

Garrard said the 54-mile bike race was initially meant to only be a training event for around 20 people, but after the accident it was decided that it would be used to raise money for the Carducci family.

Now between 50 or 60 people are expected to race on Saturday and Garrard hopes each racer will donate between $10 and $50. No support is being offered for the race and all spots have been filled as of Wednesday.

"We've been overwhelmed with the amount of support we've gotten and we reached the maximum amount of riders in the first week," Garrard said.

On Sunday, a group of 25 hairdressers from five Auburn salons will be offering haircuts for a $25 donation toward the Andrew Carducci Fund, as well. Carrie Lawson, owner of Bliss Studio in Auburn, said the cut-a-thon will go from noon to 4 p.m. Sunday at Argonauta on Lincoln Way and The Vineyard Salon on Luther Road.

"It blossomed into the community coming together for this family. So many of these people don't even know Kelly or her son, so the response from Auburnites is very, very exciting," Lawson said.

Eyebrow waxing, nail polish changes and chair massages will also be available on Sunday. Hilda's Bakery, Machado Orchard and Ikeda's all donated baked goods that will be sold on Sunday, as well.

Kelly said all of the support from the community has been surprising and even more so that if Andrew continues progressing at the same rate he could be back in high school next month.

Doctors initially thought it would be six months to a year.

"I really believe the outpouring of love from the community, friends and family who have been praying for him and sending thoughts to him that he knew the whole time and I think that has helped him pull through," Kelly said.

Contact Amber Marra at Follow her on Twitter @Amber_AJNews.