Bloomingdale library rape survivor goes public with her story electricity problem in up

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On the night of April 24, 2008, when Queena went to the Bloomingdale Library to return books, she was raped, beaten and left to die. She was 18, about to graduate high school and getting ready to attend the University of Florida on a full scholarship. Her attacker, Kendrick Morris, now 21, was convicted in May 2011 and is serving a 65-year state prison sentence.

The family relies on donations to a fund for Queena through the Bank of Tampa and SunTrust. In the first three years after the attack, donations poured in. People still donate, but every year donations are fewer and fewer, Vanna said. She’s concerned about the fund running dry.

She’s worried about bankruptcy. She’s worried they’ll have to cut back therapies, that she won’t be able to take Queena out as much. When they go out, people talk to Queena and she listens to everyone around her. It’s good for her, Vanna says, because it stimulates her brain.

"Every time her birthday rolls around, we are all reminded of how precious life is," Anna said. "To see the community come together every year, it is very heartwarming and gives the family that extra comfort and motivation to keep pushing forward."

On Wednesday, Queena lay in a hospital bed in her blue room at home, where her physical therapist comes for the day’s session. Her therapy dog, Charlie, a little white Shih Tzu adopted from county Animal Services last year, waits for her in another room. Medical supplies share the shelves with stuffed animals and Gators memorabilia. The therapist works with Queena while her home health aide looks on. He works on her leg muscles while she’s lying down. He props small inflatable balls under her legs and has her push against his hands with her foot.

They slowly help her up so her arms are resting on balls on either side of her. The therapist tells her to look straight ahead. When she’s sitting up, he’ll let go of her for seconds at a time to work on sitting up on her own. He’ll ask if she’s doing okay. She makes a noise to tell him she’s all right.

Paula McDonald of Wimauma helped put together the website. She got to know Queena’s family when her daughter, Kendall, was a senior at East Bay High School last year. Kendall and other students at East Bay, which Queena had attended, helped organize a 5K fundraiser, and McDonald offered to help the family any way she could.

McDonald works in design and communications, and in November got in touch with Full Media, an Internet marketing company in Georgia she had worked with before, to get some tips on how to set up Queena’s website. The company ended up offering to create the site for the family.

Like the time, just after getting her driver’s license, Queena drove her sister to the mall for the first time. She pulled into a parking spot, got out, shut the door, then realized the keys were still in the car. And the car was still running.

"It’s almost impossible to have a bad day when I think of everything that she has gone through and the resilience that she shows," Anna said. "Life is about family and community and doing the best you can to positively influence those around you."