This was the week that she had been waiting for.

It began as any other normal week during the busiest part of her school year-Rushing to school to drop off her twin sister before heading to Bridge City for cosmetology, grabbing a quick lunch before hurrying back to WO-S for two core classes, completing her powerlifting workout before hitting the track for track practice.

Junior Crystal Haynes would finally run in a track meet on Friday since competing at regionals last season.

Haynes, who has just about done it all in her seventeen years, decided recently to give up most of her other activities to concentrate on track.

Thursday before her first track meet was the last powerlifting meet she would lift in for the year. In the other two meets, she had placed first in her weight class and the Orangefield meet was no exception. She surprised everyone including herself when she deadlifted 275 lbs. her last lift.

The possibility of making it to powerlifting regionals was exciting but nothing compared to the anticipation she had for her first track meet of the season.

Head track coach Toby Foreman was also excited to see what Haynes, along with the other girls, would do this year. Not only would she long jump, she was also a part of the relay team and a front-runner in the 100m race.

However, no one could predict what would happen Friday afternoon as the girls warmed up for the long jump at the Nederland meet on Feb. 18.

“We were warming up to jump and we had just finished doing high-knees,” teammate Johnesha Sims said. “We hadn’t even taken a warm-up lap when Crystal sat down. We always joke around like we are tired so I told her to get up and quit playing.”

Girls track coach Patrice Ivory happened to be standing right there and asked Haynes what was wrong.

“We thought it was her leg,” Sims said. “She kept clearing her throat, trying to talk but she couldn’t. Someone got the trainer and he told her if she didn’t tell him what was wrong, he was going to call the ambulance.”

Sims, along with the other members of the WO-S track team, watched as they lifted her into the cart, her right side dragging, and took her to the Beaumont Bone and Joint tent.

“She kept trying to get up,” Sims said. “I realized something was really wrong.”

After being transported to Mid County Medical Center by ambulance, Haynes was airlifted to Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston with what was determined to be a stroke. She spent five days in Intensive Care and was then moved to a regular room where she began therapy. By this time, she was able to walk and even say a few things. On Feb. 28, only ten days after the stroke, she moved around the corner from Texas Children’s to The Institute of Rehabilitation and Research to begin intense therapy and rehabilitation. Not only was she walking by this time, but smiling, laughing and talking more.

She’s since begun texting her friends and posting on Facebook. Therapy is something she thrives on. She often refuses to take a break and has even raced her therapist up the stairs and won.

And for those that know Haynes, a complete recovery is definitely not out of the question.
Friends and family have come together to host a benefit on Saturday, March 12 to cover expenses not covered by insurance. Barbeque dinners and turkey legs will be on sale at the old Sears parking lot from 10a.m. until. For more information or to purchase a dinner or turkey leg ticket contact Natasha Franks at 409-670-1742 or Mona Richards at 409-553-9203.

Don’t be shocked if there is a surprise guest appearance.