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Community gathers support for 17-year-old accident victim

Mariah Boehm is recovering from injuries she suffered in a car vs. pedestrian accident last Thursday. A Magic the Gathering community has now raised close to $30,000 for her medical expenses.  - Courtesy Photo
Mariah Boehm is recovering from injuries she suffered in a car vs. pedestrian accident last Thursday. A Magic the Gathering community has now raised close to $30,000 for her medical expenses.
— image credit: Courtesy Photo

The parents of 17-year-old Mariah Boehm, Tony and Jody, are bracing to tell her she won't be able to walk again after she suffered injuries, following a car vs. pedestrian accident last Thursday morning, in the Renton Highlands.

Since, Mariah has been undergoing multiple surgeries at Harborview Medical Center to repair her severed spinal cord. Sunday was the first day she could eat or talk and Monday she was to have her legs set internally, nearing the last set of surgeries for a while. As of Monday, she was listed in stable condition.

"We are planning to work with Harborview's Rehab Psych team on Tuesday to tell her," said Tony Pagliocco, Mariah's dad, via email. "We were supposed to tell her today, but her surgery got scheduled over it."

Mariah and her father, who works at Renton's Wizards of the Coast, are both big Magic the Gathering enthusiasts. Her dad played on a competitive circuit for 15 years and Mariah started playing competitively when she got older. She's been coast to coast, her dad said, playing in tournaments and building a network of friends in the Magic community.

Now that network is paying her back out of concern, helping to raise almost $30,000 for her medical expenses. Apparently the money was raised in about 24 hours. Friends of the family created a page on giveforward.com in support of the effort. The goal is to raise $75,000.

The family had just been approved to move to a new rental property the day Mariah got hit by the car, but now they need to find a new one-story property to accommodate Mariah's injuries.She suffered two broken legs, a broken shin, two broken vertebrae and internal bleeding in the incident that happened in the 800 block of Duvall Avenue Northeast.

Witnesses stated that a northbound driver in a maroon sedan drifted onto the right shoulder of the road, striking Mariah, who was walking northbound.She was just coming back from Bellevue on the bus, from taking end of the year testing at her online high school, Insight School of Washington. Mariah was supposed to meet her dad at the Renton Transit Center, but instead got off at an earlier stop, he said, so she could just walk home.

Mariah's father said that he is numb after everything that's transpired.

"I was numb when I heard about the accident; I was numb when I saw her at the scene going in the ambulance; I was numb when they said she'd never walk again; then I was numb when I saw how the entire country has rallied in under 24 hours to show how much they love my little panda (her nickname)," he said. "Going on Facebook and seeing all the support and all the people changing their profile pics to pandas to support her keeps me going.  I'm also angry, I want to ask this lady why she hit my girl, why she took away a big part of her life, what was so important that she couldn't pay attention?"

Now Mariah is looking at one to two months of rehabilitation at Seattle Children's Hospital before she can go home, her father said. The case is still open and under investigation by the Renton Police Department. Donations can be made through the online site.

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