Student raises money for recovery online

Photo: Will Peebles

Will Peebles

A lot of people have been telling Dakota Flake how lucky he is lately.

Flake, a rising sophomore multi-media journalism major at Georgia Southern University, fell asleep at the wheel while driving to his sixth day on the job at FoodWorld in Waynesboro. Flake awoke just in time to see his car run over a caution post and go over the embankment. His vehicle flipped multiple times before finally landing on all four wheels beside the road.

Flake was rushed to the hospital. The next day he went into surgery, and left with two rods and 12 screws in his back. Flake was going to be alright, but his improving health wouldn’t mark the end of his troubles.

The accident totaled the Flake family’s only car, and many of Dakota’s medical bills were paid out-of-pocket.

The rising costs of the accident prompted a friend of the Flake family to suggest an online fundraising site: YouCaring.com

“A friend of ours actually told us about it. I didn’t even know it existed, but they helped us get it set up,” Flake’s mother said.

YouCaring is a website that provides sick or injured individuals with a means to raise money through either anonymous or identified donations.

A large portion of Flake’s donations were given by donors with GSU-themed usernames such as GATA1988 and Gsu6. Many left words of support and promises of prayer with their donations.

Beth and Brandi Odom commented, “We are so thankful to have met you and your family, Dakota. We know God has special plans for you. You will continue to be in our prayers. Whose house?!!!!”

Gsu6 said, “Anything for a fellow Eagle in need. GATA!”

Flake also received support from GSU while he was in the hospital. One evening, a woman in a GSU hat and t-shirt came to visit him in his hospital room.

“She came in and introduced herself, and she asked if we’d care if she prayed. We said we wouldn’t mind, and she led us in prayer. The only reason that she was there was because she went to Southern, and I go to Southern now,” Dakota said.

“She told us, ‘When you go to Southern, you’re family. We stick together,’” Dakota’s father Henry added.

The Flake family’s car insurance did not cover the costs of the accident as the insurance only covered accidents with other vehicles.

“I called the insurance company last Saturday and said: ‘Look, I’ve got to file a claim.’ They asked me for details about the wreck, and I told her. Then she said: ‘Oh by the way, since you’re only covered for collision, and it was a one-vehicle accident, the insurance won’t cover anything,’” Dakota’s father said.

YouCaring.com has currently raised $740 to help the Flake family with medical and schooling costs for Dakota. He plans to return for his third semester at GSU in the fall.

Flake said, “It’s crazy to think about how much just going to a school has an impact on you. These people are trying to help me and my family as much as they can, and they’ve never even met us. It’s just because I go to Southern.”