• Nonprofit helps prepare home for hit-and-run victim


    CHEROKEE COUNTY, Ga. - The Cherokee County college student severely injured during a hit-and-run is expected to be released from the hospital on Thursday.

    Emily Bowman, 20, suffered severe brain injuries after an alleged drunken driver hit her while she was walking home from downtown Athens.

    Emily has been in the hospital since February.

    Doctors said she is severely brain injured, and is still unable to speak, and is wheelchair-bound. Her parents have stayed by the college student's side, and are now faced with the new challenge of bring her home.

    Dale Bowman, Emily's father, admits he is nervous to be away from the 24-hour care of nurses and doctors.

    "We knew she couldn't be in the hospital forever, and 19 weeks is enough," Bowman said.

    To prepare for her arrival home, the nonprofit Sunshine on a Ranney Day renovated her family's first floor living quarters to make it handicap accessible.

    Founder Holly Ranney admits the renovation is a bit of a scramble, because Emily is being released sooner than expected.

    "Yes, but we work better off of a little chaos," Ranney said.

    Volunteers from all over the area came to paint, decorate, and build the 20-year-old's bedroom.

    They renovated the bathroom, to comply with ADA standards. Someone even donated a hospital bed for Emily.

    "I will do what I can to make their lives easier because they have a long road ahead of them," said Jennifer Gallagher, who is a volunteer from Woodstock.

    "These people are the heroes. These people are the heroes," said Tammy Naumik, who is Emily's godmother.

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