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Aspiring doctor fighting for her life after horrific crash

Posted at 8:35 PM, Nov 03, 2017
and last updated 2017-11-03 20:37:37-04

After a horrific car crash left her with a life-threatening brain injury, the daughter of a retired West Palm Beach firefighter is fighting for her life.

Despite just coming out of a coma, her family is hopeful she can still carry out the dream she started.

"It's kind of hard to wrap your mind around why this happened to her," said Jennifer Gusikoff, Hannah's lifelong friend. "She's just so incredible. I've never seen anyone who's been handed such difficult situations And just keeps pushing and pushing."

On September 6, the 22-year old nearly died in a car crash on Beeline Highway in Martin County. Everette Carlo, Hannah's father, said she had been living in Sarasota after graduating with her undergrad in the spring. She had just dropped off her boyfriend at the airport in Miami and was headed back before the Hurricane Irma hit the state.

Everette, a retired firefighter, credits his former colleagues with saving her life.

"I call them my lifesavers because they are. They've helped me in so many ways. Those lifesavers on scene that night, that's why Hannah's here," he said.

This isn't the first heartbreak for Hannah's family. She lost her mother to cancer when she was a child so Hannah made it her life goal to cure the disease.

"She took the MCAT twice and was preparing to apply to medical school to become a surgical oncologist," said Gusikoff. "She wants to impact this world and help cure cancer."

Hannah had graduated as the Salutatorian from the Pre-Medical program at Palm Beach Gardens High School. This spring, she received her bachelors degree in biology from New College of Florida. She even completed her honor’s thesis on cancer immune surveillance evasion. 

"Back when it first happened it was really scary because I would never want to witness my sister not being able to do everything that she wanted to do her life," said Rachel Carlo, Hannah's sister.

Hannah has spent nearly two months in the hospital, most of it in a coma. Her family created a Facebook page chronicling her journey.

"She slowly started waking up, struggling to be able to speak," said Gusikoff. "She had infections and had to battle that while she was in a coma, and she beat that. She keeps exceeding our expectations."

The Carlo family has struggled with insurance payments but thanks to the community, over $14,000 has been raised so far to help.

"She can definitely come back from this. She just needs support from the hospital, the insurance companies, her friends and family," said Gusikoff.

Her family has walked into St. Mary's every single day since the accident to be with Hannah. They hope that one day, she'll be able to walk out with them.

"In the end, by the Grace of God and all the people that are praying and supporting us, I see no other outcome than her walking out of here," said Everette. "She has such ambition that we can only hope that she continues to improve."

The Carlo family said that the West Palm Beach fire department is working with them on planning fundraisers this holiday season.

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