Injured Cowgirl Recovering As Auction Proceeds Help Defray Medical Costs

Alex Umphenour’s health is improving steadily.

That’s the most important and best news that can be reported.

Seriously injured in an accident while warming her horse up at Fort Hays State University, where she is a student and member of the rodeo team, Alex Umphenour was in a coma from February 13 until mid-March.

Alex is the 20-year-old daughter of Kevin and Debi Umphenour of Pleasanton. She was flown to the Madonna Rehabilitation Hospital in Lincoln, Nebraska, for recovery from the head trauma.

In the last couple of weeks, Alex has regained her long- and short-term memory and speaking ability. She now recognizes family and friends. Currently, mobile by wheelchair, Alex continues to make walking progress.

“She is doing math problems and is reading on a kindle. The kindle helps because the words are big, and her right eye does not track with her left, and smaller print gives her a headache,” according to Beverly Read, a close family friend.

“Alex has started writing on Facebook to people, which is a motivation for her, because she misses her friends and family at home very much,” Mrs. Read pointed out. “Praise God that her mind is so good.

“Her rehabilitation focuses on her physical deficiencies right now. That is her right leg, trunk and arm,” Mrs. Read explained. “The progress speed has slowed, and this is pretty frustrating to her.

“Alex can push herself to standing position from her wheelchair, but because the response is very slow in right leg, she needs the Loco Mat at Madonna or a walker and assistants to help her walk,” Mrs. Read continued. “Alex is giving her sessions 100 percent as I knew she would.”

Marty Read Auction Company of Mound City conducted a benefit auction at the Linn County Fairgrounds on May 1, to raise funds to help the Umphenour family defray medical concurred during this trying time.

“The auction was a huge success thanks to hundreds of donors, buyers, and volunteers,” Mrs. Read said. “When all money is in, the auction will total about $44,000 from close to 1,000 lots.

“There was a crowd of 700-plus people from a wide area thanks to all the wonderful advertising and promotion help,” Mrs. Read credited. “The selling went from 1:30 in the afternoon until 10 o’clock at night. Pies went for $70, trips, feed, gas cards and the van all sold for strong prices.

“My eight-year-old great nephew informed me that he and his buddies were making paper airplanes out on the porch if anyone wanted to buy one at the auction,” Mrs. Read commented. “I asked him what he was going to do with your money. He replied, ‘It’s not for me, it’s for Alex.’”

The youth group from the Christian Church where Alex attended all her life came to help clean up. “There were little kids carrying chairs that were larger than they were,” Mrs. Read related. “Several of them came the next day to help clean up and box up.

“It’s pretty amazing when kids hearts are in it to help just how much they really can do. They saved so much labor,” Mrs. Read recognized. “It was pretty awesome to see the spirit of giving at the auction.”

A donation jar collected more than $2,000, and concessions netted $2,200 for benefit of Alex.

“The livestock and Priefert panels sold great as did the Chihuahua puppies which were a huge hit,” Mrs. Read tallied.