Rally: Fix roads that killed teen's dream

Corey Beattie was a smiling, sports-loving senior at Avon Grove High School with aspirations to attend culinary school when a car accident devastated that dream on Oct. 2, 2010. Since then, her family and friends have fought to overcome multiple obstacles, such as raising funds for care denied by insurance and improving the safety of the intersection where the crash occurred.

On Saturday, from 4:30 to 6 p.m., a rally will be held at “Corey’s Corner,” to bring attention to the intersection of Route 896 and Route 841 in Franklin Township near Kemblesvile. Corey’s mother, Marie Beattie, who organized the event, said her efforts to get PennDot to install a four-way stop or traffic light have been rebuffed to date. “It’s a dangerous intersection,” she said. “I don’t want any other families to suffer the way we have.”
Beattie, a single mother, said Franklin Township officials have been trying to improve safety at the intersection since 1992, the year Corey was born; however, it's a state road. Beattie said she has been reaching out to lawmakers and the public — a petition she started two weeks ago already has more than 1,000 signatures — in an effort to persuade PennDot to reverse its decision. She said that State Sen. Dominic Pileggi and Rep. John Lawrence are planning to attend the rally and that Corey will be there as well.

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Corey Beattie

 Since the accident, which left the teen with a broken neck and traumatic brain injury, Corey has been making slow but steady progress, her mother said. She is now able to stand with assistance. But getting Corey the care she needs has been another struggle, Beattie said. “Every single day I have to fight someone,” she said. “But I’m not going to stop.” She said the goal of the insurance companies is to get patients home so that the costs are borne by the patient. “Insurance is the bully on the playground,” said Beattie. “They have more control than people realize. A traumatic brain injury requires lifelong rehabilitation.” Beattie said her daughter was released from a rehabilitation center because she was not making the “weekly gains” the center needed to get insurance reimbursement — an unrealistic barometer.

“This is not just our struggle,” Beattie said. “There are 1.7 million victims of traumatic brain injury each year, and 450,000 are children. They need therapy for their recovery that insurance companies are refusing to provide.” Beattie said she hoped former Rep. Gabby Giffords, who received a level of care for her gunshot injury that the average person’s insurance doesn’t cover, might become a spokesperson for the cause at some point. In the meantime, Beattie said she will do what it takes to advocate for her daughter. “I’m not going anywhere,” she said. “If I don’t succeed, they’ll hear from me again.”

For more information about the family’s struggle and ways to help, go to http://www.careforcorey.org/