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Spinal injury last winter changes Moorhead woman's life

Flynn Murray helps Moorhead High School sophomore Cory Tri with a math problem Thursday during a help session. Murray, 23, was paralyzed from the chest down after a March car accident in Montana. David Samson / The Forum

Six months ago, Flynn Murray's life changed.

While driving to her Bozeman, Mont., home at night from a nearby ski resort, the 23-year-old's car went off the road and rolled several times.

Her brother had no injuries, but Murray suffered a broken neck and severe spinal cord injury from the March 19 accident. She spent five of the past six months at hospitals in Bozeman and Denver.

In August, Murray moved back to her Moorhead home to pursue physical therapy and improve her condition - but the costs of her rehabilitation are far greater than what her family's insurance plan will pay for.

A group of community members and family friends will host a spaghetti dinner fundraiser Sunday in Moorhead to raise money to cover Flynn's recovery costs.

"It's just such a giving family, and we really want to help them out," said Todd Hennum, one of the event's coordinators and a co-worker of Murray's father, Pat. "If anybody deserves help, it's them."

Pat Murray said Flynn has made tremendous strides in her recovery since March, when she underwent surgery on her spinal cord.

"There's worse things that could've happened and that didn't occur to me for quite a while after Flynn's accident," Pat Murray said. "In a lot of ways, we're very fortunate."

Still, the Murrays need to pay for an electric wheelchair and other expenses that will help Flynn regain her independence.

Meanwhile, Flynn continues to get stronger, her father said.

"She's just a lean-mean fighting machine now," Pat Murray said. "She's committed to getting herself in a position to go back to Montana."

Flynn was pursuing an engineering degree at Montana State at the time of the accident. Her father said she hopes to return to Bozeman by January, and she's using this time to pursue aggressive physical therapy treatments.

Hennum said the money raised at Sunday's event will go toward helping accommodate Murray's daily needs. One of the items they'd like to purchase is a wheelchair-accessible van, which costs about $30,000.

"Generosity of people and their willingness to give is an incredible thing," Hennum said. "So, realistically, I hate to put a dollar figure on the generosity out of what's in their hearts."

Sunday's dinner will include a silent auction, with items such as Twins and Vikings tickets and a night at the Hotel Donaldson in downtown Fargo.

Online and click on "Learn More/Make a Donation."

If you go

* What: Flynn Murray Spaghetti Dinner and Silent Auction

* When: 4-8 p.m. Sunday


Where: American Legion, 303 30th St. N., Moorhead.

How to help

Donations can be sent to the Flynn Murray Benefit Fund, c/o State Bank, 3100 13th Ave. S, Fargo, ND 58103.