Tampa native nearly killed in Colombia

Posted at 11:30 PM, Feb 20, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-22 02:14:10-05

Prayers and support are pouring in from around the world for a  young Tampa Bay woman, fighting for her life. 

Schuyler Arakawa is a 22-year-old Tampa Berkeley Prep and Yale University graduate.  She was on a post-grad fellowship with Yale in South America when tragedy struck. 

Arakawa has been working in Peru the past several months, helping construct homes and buildings in small villages and teaching.

This weekend, she and a group of friends planned a weekend retreat to Colombia.  During a day of river rafting and swimming, a large boulder came crashing down from 30 feet above the water and landed right on top of Schuyler's head.  Her friends rushed to her aid, pulling her out of the water and getting her to the hospital.

After learning of the accident, Schuyler's mom and sister drove to Miami, to catch a flight to Colombia to be at her side.  Family members back here in Tampa have only gotten a few updates since, and know her prognosis is grim.  Schuyler has a fractured skull, crushed leg, collapsed lungs, and several other broken bones.

Despite it all, her grandparents say Schuyler's determination and adventurous spirit, give them hope she will survive.

"It's a miracle that she is alive and that the doctors are even able to give us a glimpse of hope for her.  I expect miracles.  So I'm open to have Schuyler back, functional, and her bright, bubbly self," said Schuyler's grandfather, Craig Hankenson.

The family is now hoping Schuyler will be flown back to Florida at some point to be treated, but as it stands now, they'll be required to pay for all the treatment she's gotten in Colombia in full before that can happen.

Friends are trying to help make that possible through a Go Fund Me page.  Within  hours of the page being set up, more than $50,000 had been collected.  If you'd like to help, find the donation page here: