Breona Mackoff was a senior cheerleader on my team, as I was a freshman. She transferred over to Johnstown her senior year from Bishop McCort. Bre was an amazing girl! She had an amazing personality and always knew how to make someone laugh. When Bre left in July to join the US Navy in Florida I didn't hear much from her.
But then, on November 19th the media exploded! On Mandi Catanese’s Facebook page, there was a mysterious post about how Mandi was going to keep everyone updated on Breona because Wendy Mackoff (Bre’s mother) had asked her to. Mandi’s post went on to say that Breona had been involved in an accident. She described all of Breona’s injuries such as, “a compound fracture to her femur, a broken hip, a sever concussion, a tear in esophagus, initial CT showed blood on her brain but a second CT was negative. She has something under her arm (will clarify later) and many many lacerations. She is responding.”
Mandi’s post also mentioned that there were three other people with Breona during that accident and then asked if we'd pray for them, as well. At first ,no one knew what happened, but then a couple hours later, Mandi updated everyone on what Wendy had told her.
The most important part about her post, in my opinion, was this, “Her and 3 friends were at a cross walk and was hit by a vehicle going full speed. One girl was across the street and a young man and Breona was hit, the young man took the blunt of the hit and tried to push Breona out of the way. Unfortunately, they both were hit and the young man passed this morning.”
After Mandi posted that, everyone thought for sure the driver was drunk. He had to be, right?
As Breona was in all of her surgeries November 20, my team and I decided to do something that might make her just the tiniest bit happy when she wakes up. We had our States competition that day and my teammate Amaiah Ellis went out of her way to go and get Navy colored ribbon so we could tie it around our cheer shoe laces to show support for Bre. Amaiah also got a card for all of us to sign and she made a sign that said, “ We love you Bre” and we all took team photos with the sign, including Bre's former school, Bishop McCort. We like to say we won states for Bre that day.
Wendy kept everyone updated on how Bre’s surgeries went throughout the day on Facebook while we were at our competition. The next day, Wendy found out from the Command Master Chief that the young man behind the wheel was not drinking. He was TEXTING. That same day Breona came off the vent and was talking, according to Wendy’s post. She went on to say that Breona was very confused… when Bre found out she couldn’t move the right side of body, she started “screaming and yelling,” read Wendy’s post. “She screamed that she needed to go home ; then she screamed everything she worked so hard for was gone.” Breona’s heart rate jumped to 180 and Wendy had to get a nurse to get Breona to calm down.
The next day Wendy had asked everyone to stop texting while driving because “it kills,” read her post. She wants everyone to “SHUT IT OFF, save a life”. The next day Breona went into surgery. Wendy's post mentioned that Breona’s leg break was the worst the doctor had ever seen. “Her broken leg will be about an inch shorter than the other but it's better than no leg at all.” Also on that day Wendy went to the service on the Navy base for the young man who saved Breona’s life in the horrific accident. “Words just can't begin to describe the pain I feel for the family of the young man”, Wendy said on her Facebook post.
As you can see, texting while driving is not worth it. One driver killed a young man and tragically changed another's life mentally and physically. A text is not worth a life. Put the phone down, “Save a life.”
“Don't text and drive, Bre strong” came from my teammate Amaiah Ellis who had gotten bracelets made for Bre that are $2 each. We raised about $1,700 to give to Breona’s family.