NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — The transport process is difficult, but mom and grandma don’t complain. Every Monday on the campus of Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters, 17-year-old Donasia Lee gets occupational therapy, and every other week she gets three days of physical therapy.
“We are just happy to have her home for the holidays,” said Donasia’s mother, Christina Lee, who suffers from Graves’ disease. With Grandma Phyllis’ assistance, Christina often has to lift a portion of Donasia’s upper body to help position her daughter into a waiting wheelchair.
Donasia, who hovers around 5-foot-10, cannot walk or even stand without assistance.
A crime that nearly killed Donasia occurred on the morning of February 28. A driver hit her as she crossed Virginia Beach Blvd. at the intersection of Park Avenue, just outside Booker T. Washington High School.
The driver never stopped. Crushed car parts remained on the scene, but those parts did not yield engraved auto serial numbers. No surveillance cameras were installed at the intersection and no witnesses have come forward. Norfolk’s top prosecutor, Ramin Fatehi, told 10 On Your Side the case may never be solved.
The teen was transported to the trauma unit at Sentara Norfolk General Hospital, where doctors told Donasia’s mother to prepare for a funeral. The single mother of four, who works part-time at a restaurant, created a GoFundMe page to help with anticipated funeral expenses.
Donasia remained in a coma for several weeks, but woke up slowly to a family that loves her and friends from school who missed her. She was transferred to CHKD, where a team worked 7 days a week to restore the teenager who was a proud member of the NJROTC program at Booker T. Washington High. Her family edited the GoFundMe page to ask for general assistance.
Donasia was released from CHKD in September to a rigorous outpatient therapy program that is producing improvements.
A simple Uno Card game with therapists is part of the treatment plan.
“So here we are working on the dexterity of our hands,” said therapist Kendra Bomgardner.
Donasia has lost some motor skills, but not her sense of humor. So what does she have to say about the all-important Thanksgiving meal?
“I will help my mom so she doesn’t burn the house down,” said Lee while therapists and her mother roared with laughter.
Donasia’s home is in the Diggs Town community of Norfolk, and her home is where she has remote learning.
The dexterity drills have produced results as she confidently uses a laptop to chat with her teacher and to answer multiple-choice questions in an online quiz on the components of health.
Donasia will be a senior next year. She’s looking forward to the prom, and graduation. She still has hopes of joining the United States Navy.
She remains thankful even while processing the fact that her case may remain unsolved.
“Disappointing is the world. I thought that the world is getting better, but it seems it’s not … I’m thankful for the people that stood by my side and my mom.”
Donasia’s mother says over the months she has released some of the anger associated with the crime that could have taken her daughter’s life.
“It still hurts that no one has come forward; no one has reached out and said anything. It just hurts more than anything now,” Lee said.
If you have information on who struck Donasia Lee and left the scene, call the Crime Line at 1-888–LOCK-U-UP.