Bloggers from around the world help plane crash victims

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Two plane crash survivors with Utah ties are getting help from around the world thanks to a blog.

Courtney Kendrick has been updating her sister's blog since a plane crash last month put her sister, Stephanie Nielson, and her sister's husband, Christian Nielson, in a hospital burn unit.

On Aug. 16, Provo native Stephanie Nielson's chances of survival didn't look good. She and her husband Christian along with Doug Kinneard were in a plane that crashed not far from St. Johns airport in Arizona. Kinneard was killed. Christian and Stephanie sustained severe burns, Stephanie over more than 80 percent of her body.

Courtney said, "We are overwhelmed, quite honestly."

Overwhelmed because the couple have four children that now need to be cared for and medical bills that will reach into the millions.

They also are overwhelmed by people's response. "We are getting thousands of e-mails from people who say, 'I've never met Stephanie. I've only read her blog. I am so inspired by her and want to be a better wife and mother,'" Courtney said.

The blog about being an upbeat mother of four had around 2,000 hits a day before the crash. Kendrick says the blog now gets about 30,000 hits a day.

"This actually started with Design Mom, who is a blogger who knows Stephanie, and she wanted to do something," Courtney explained.

Design Mom, a blogger out of New York, now has 350 online auctions going. And those efforts even began to spread.

"Even small things. Some people wanted to bake cookies and sell them on their blog," Courtney said.

Those bloggers have helped raise more than $100,000 in much needed donations as the couple remains in induced comas. The donations are coming from all around the world, including countries like Australia, Israel, Spain and Germany.

"Stephanie blogged because she wanted to share the message of motherhood. And she wanted to share the beauty of her life. The remarkable thing is people are responding to her," Courtney said.

And they're praying she and her husband will recover.

Stephanie Nielson's parents, Cindy and Stephen Clark of Provo, say the couple will soon be undergoing skin graphs and they'll likely be in the hospital three more months.

Kendrick is also taking care of three of the four children while the couple is in the hospital.

On Sunday, the New York Times wrote an article highlighting the movement in the blogging world to help raise money for Stephanie and Christian. Tomorrow morning, Stephanie's family will be talking about those efforts on The Today Show.

To read Stephanie's blog, go to the link on this page.


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Randall Jeppesen and Lori Prichard


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