Franklin teen improving after near drowning in early June

Community members came together Saturday for a benefit at the American Legion. (WTHR photo)
Published: .
Updated: .
Students return to Franklin Community High School in less than two weeks, however it's the tragedy that happened just after last school year ended that continues to be at the forefront.

Sarah McLevish became trapped in the raging waters of the Big Blue River in early June. Two other teens lost their lives trying to save her.

Blue ribbons remain tied on the school doors and the community remains "Franklin Strong" which could be felt during a benefit at the American Legion Saturday.

Torey Denzio was one of the benefit's organizers and said it just seemed like the right thing to do.

"I didn't personally know any of the kids, but I have siblings and a lot of relatives that are the high school in that age and so it did hit close to home for me," she said.

So from dunk tanks to haircuts, food, entertainment and shopping, it was a chance for the community to come together and have fun.

"From the tragedy that happened, everybody is kind of scared emotionally," Bailey Wood said.

Wood will be a freshman at Franklin Community High School and specifically waited for Saturday to get his back to school haircut.

"I kind of donate money to help their cause," he said.

It's the start of school that will be bittersweet for the mother of McLevish.

"I think it will be tough not sending them both," Bobbi Hubbard said.

Sarah McLevishWhile one daughter will return, Sarah will remain hospitalized where she receives up to seven hours of physical and speech therapy a day.

"She's kind of been in school all summer," her mom laughed.

Family and friends have also noticed a difference in her behavior as her therapy progresses.

"Her friend took her hand and said her name and Sarah opened her eyes and looked right at her," Hubbard said. "When she's looking we see a connection there."

The goal is to get Sarah talking and walking. Her progress already has amazed her family and her doctors.

"The things that she does every day is things that we honestly never figured that she would do in the first place so that hope is there we know it's going to be a long road but every little thing she shows as we take," Hubbard said.

Supporters have set up two online fundraisers to help pay for her recovery: When Sarah Smiles and Prayers for Sarah.