Estimated read time: 3-4 minutes
LAS VEGAS — In a single moment last month, the lives of Kilee Krause and Anne-Monique Lippitt became inextricably intertwined. A tragedy would send these two women down a long, painful road to recovery, never having met but on parallel paths. They are the "coma buddies."
The chain-reaction car accidents that left 18-year-old Krause in a coma in a Las Vegas hospital had the same fate in store for 20-year-old Lippitt, who was a few cars behind Krause when Krause lost control of her vehicle while attempting to pass a motorhome.
The two strangers were flown with critical injuries to University Medical Center, where in the weeks that followed they would see parallel ups and downs during their journeys back to health, according to Lippitt's father, James Lippitt. Both spent some time after the accident in medically induced comas and have remained in comas even after the sedation was stopped. Both have seen more progress in the past 21 days than doctors predicted — once "written off," they have fought back to the brink of awareness.
Both continue to fight, responding to familiar voices and showing other signs of alertness, albeit in different ways. Krause sometimes seems agitated; Lippitt, at peace. But the parallelisms in their lives did not begin that fateful day on I-15.
"Kilee and Anne-Monique both have a special light about them," James Lippitt said. "They are both loved by people around them. They're both givers."
Like Krause, Lippitt is a student at Southern Utah University. "A big positive influence," she touches lives, leaving them for the better, according to Cori Fitz, a family friend. A "fighter," a "strong young woman," she "makes life exciting" and has prayers behind her from all 50 states from 20 different countries, from China to Lebanon. People post on her get well page on Facebook, sharing their prayers and offering support.
Las Vegas. Missoula. Utah. New Mexico. Florida. Lippitt's far-flung group of supporters was far removed from Krause's tight-knit community of friends and family, but all are united in purpose: their faith in something bigger than themselves would defy the odds and bring the two women home.
"You kind of get the feeling it's really close," James Lippitt said. "But we just don't know. It's always a roller coaster."
His daughter turned to an evangelical faith upon entering college, but her family has looked to their LDS faith for comfort in their time of need, organizing through Facebook a worldwide fast on Sunday for both Lippitt and Krause's health. "I never did fast in my life, but I'll do it for Annie," wrote Ciarah Suan on Facebook.
It's a long road ahead, to be sure, and the injuries will not disappear overnight. But people are gathering around Lippitt — and Krause as well — because "people want to believe that miracles can happen," according to James Lippitt. "People are sensing that this could be a special thing."
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