A Norway family remains in Mexico following a vehicle crash that took the life of a mother.
Sergio and Elena Cruz were visiting family in Mexico for the holidays with their children 24-year-old Daisy and 18-year-old Aaron when they were involved in a vehicle crash where a drunken driver struck their vehicle from behind at night, according to Daisy.
Elena died as a result of the crash and Daisy sustained severe injuries requiring surgery to repair a broken hip. Her father and brother sustained minor bruises and scratches.
"My family and I have been surrounded by our family (aunts, uncles, cousins, friends) during this difficult time. They have all been wonderful in helping me with my recovery and in helping us heal emotionally," Daisy said to The Times via Facebook.
Daisy and her family will remain in Mexico until she's healed enough to travel.
Despite the geographical divide, friends and family have been raising money for the Cruz family to help with medical and memorial expenses.
Hannah Buchanan works with Daisy at Lewis University in Romeoville and was heartbroken to learn of the accident.
"It was just unbelievable. Daisy is the sweetest thing and everyone who knows her knows how sweet she is. (I) know how much they were looking forward to this trip," Buchanan said to The Times in a phone call.
"(Her coworkers) were all just heartbroken for her," she added.
Buchanan said she felt "helpless" when trying to comfort a friend in another country but when she considered the rising hospital and memorial costs associated with the accident, she set up a GoFundMe page to help assist.
And it was so successful the page recently increased its goal from $5,000 to $8,000.
"It's been amazing," Buchanan said. "We started it, a team of us who work with her (at Lewis University) in admissions. We got a lot of feedback and then it started sharing on social media and throughout the university and through her family and friends."
For the family, it's meant a great deal as well to see the support from home.
"I was overwhelmed with gratitude when I learned about my co-workers' and community's generosity regarding the donation drive," Daisy said. "Every donation, every message and every prayer has been deeply appreciated and it gives me and my family comfort to know that we are not alone."
Daisy said doctors are unable to give her a firm idea as to when she may be healed enough to leave. Recovery is expected to take some time, but she's optimistic that she'll be able to return home by March.
Until then, she's appreciative of the kind words and donations from friends and family.
"Thank you to every single person who has donated or sent me a message or kept us in their thoughts. And a special thank you to the Lewis University admissions department (my coworkers) for their generosity and support," Daisy said.
To donate, visit gofundme.com/f/supporting-the-cruz-family.