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Diving community comes together for Bailey Wind

Dive-athon raises money to cover Shaker student's medical costs

Shaker senior Bailey Wind watches the action at a dive-athon organized in her honor Sunday at RPI. Wind was one of two teens injured in a Dec. 1 accident on the Northway, which also claimed the lives of Shenendehowa student-athletes Chris Stewart and Deanna Rivers. Wind dove for Shaker in the fall and has a scholarship to the University of Tennessee.

Shaker senior Bailey Wind watches the action at a dive-athon organized in her honor Sunday at RPI. Wind was one of two teens injured in a Dec. 1 accident on the Northway, which also claimed the lives of Shenendehowa student-athletes Chris Stewart and Deanna Rivers. Wind dove for Shaker in the fall and has a scholarship to the University of Tennessee. Photo by Rob Jonas.

— Shaker diver Bailey Wind and her family are amazed by the support they have received since she was seriously injured in a Dec. 1 accident on the Northway near the Twin Bridges.

“I’m so thankful,” said Wind. “There are no words to express how thankful I am.”

“It’s overwhelming,” added Wind’s father, Bob. “I can’t believe how big people’s hearts are.”

The latest show of support came Sunday when Wind’s Flip and Rip Diving Club teammates gathered at RPI’s Robison Pool for a two-hour dive-athon to raise money to cover Wind’s medical expenses. Early estimates put the dollar amount at more than $10,000 in pledges alone. More money was raised through T-shirt sales.

“We’ve had donations from California and Kansas — just the weirdest places out of nowhere,” said Mohonasen diver Kelly Moran, who organized the “Dive for Bailey” fundraiser.

Wind attended the event wearing a neck brace that was keeping her surgically-repaired spine aligned. Several of her vertebrae fractured when the vehicle she was riding in with her boyfriend, Shenendehowa senior Chris Stewart, and friends Matt Hardy and Deanna Rivers — both Shen students — was hit by a car driven by Dennis Drue as they were driving north in Halfmoon. Stewart and Rivers died in the accident, while Wind and Hardy suffered multiple injuries.

“A lot of people thought I was going to be paralyzed, but I’m thankful I’m able to move around,” said Wind, who also lost several teeth in the accident.

Wind and Hardy spent several days in the hospital recovering from their injuries. While they were there, each of them received phone calls from their sports heroes. New York Jets quarterback Tim Tebow called Hardy and later sent him an autographed helmet, while Olympic swimmer Missy Franklin called Wind.

Wind said she missed Franklin’s first attempt to call her because she didn’t have her phone, which was broken in the accident.

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