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Karina Vargas: How to donate to a fund set up for teenager paralyzed in drive-by shooting

This week's cover story, "Bullet. Proof.," tells the story of Karina Sartiaguin Vargas, who was shot three years ago outside Aurora Central High School. The bullet wasn't meant for her, but it hit her anyway, paralyzing her from the belly button down. Because Karina was undocumented, she had a hard time getting medical care beyond what was necessary to save her life.

Since then, she's connected with an immigration attorney, who is helping her apply for a green card. The attorney and her paralegal also set up a fundraiser.

The fundraiser kicked off with an event back in late September at the upscale Edge Bar inside the Four Seasons Hotel in downtown Denver. So far, they've raised about $5,600 in cash and gotten several offers from builders to make additional modifications to Karina's family home in Aurora. Karina hopes to spend some of the money on physical therapy and other treatment. The nineteen-year-old believes that with the right therapies, she'll be able to walk again.

Donations are still being accepted through the Denver Center for Crime Victims website. Choose the "Emergency Fund" option and write "Karina" in the Comments section.

But although she can use the help, Karina is adamant that she's not just looking for charity. She recently began attending an alternative school where students earn credits online and she's determined to get her diploma and find a job. As she wrote in an essay for school, "I'm ready for what the year has to come and I'm just ready to get it over with!"

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For more about Karina, read our cover story, "Bullet. Proof."

Follow me on Twitter @MelanieAsmar or e-mail me at melanie.asmar@westword.com

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