Community rallies for woman who lost leg in Mexico accident

A popular local bartender loses her leg in a terrible accident on vacation in Mexico.

Now friends, family and customers are helping to lift her spirits.

It was supposed to be the trip of a lifetime for Karen Lauinger.

"I had been looking forward to trip all winter," she said.

But a joy ride on a scooter in Mexico has changed Lauinger's life in a way she never imagined. 

"I hit some gravel on side of the road and skidded and lost control," she said. "I hit my leg and broke it in three pieces."

By the time Lauinger was airlifted to a hospital in Miami, doctors realized her injuries were much worse and her leg had to be amputated.

Lauinger had been a bartender for more than 20 years, but for right now she can't work, so her co workers and friends want to make sure she gets the support she needs.

"We're going to have a benefit for her at Santia Hall in Keego Harbor," said Jessica Bunce, a co-worker and friend. "We are thinking May 3, but it's not quite firm yet. Because she will have to pay for half of her prosthetic, and the prostehtic is $40,000. 

"You can imagine not being able to generate any income because you're a bartender. We're all just trying to reach out and help her."

Shortly before the accident Lauinger signed up for medical insurance not knowing what was ahead of her.

"It went into effect March 1 and the accident was March 7 and it was the first time I had insurance in my life," she said. 

But even with insurance, Lauinger's bills are still pouring in - and for now, she can't return to her job.

"I know I'll walk again," Lauinger said. "In a few months I'll be fitted with a prosthesis. It's just a different world."

As plans continue for the fundraiser, Karen's friends are hoping the community can help make it a success. 

"We're hoping we can round up some of the sports community and get some memorabilia to auction off," Bunce said.

Karen's friends have also established a GoFundMe account and you can also bring any donation for the fundraiser to Mary Donnelly's Public House.

And as Karen works to navigate her future, her friends want to make sure she knows they will be with her every step of the way

"It's hard to feel sorry for yourself when you have all these people opening their arms to you," Lauinger said.

This is the fundraising campaign for Help for our friend Karen Lauinger:

Donations: Mary Donnelly's Public House 

3011 Orchard Lake Rd

Keego Harbor

Fundraiser Santia Hall

1985 Cass Lake Rd, Keego Harbor

Tentative Date: May 3rd
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