Amber Gorlesky was speechless when she got the news that her friend Adrianna Flowers had been in a terrible car crash.
Flowers, 22, of Guyton was seriously injured and her 4-year-old son Owen was killed June 6 when their car was hit head-on by an Effingham man driving with a suspended license and suspected of driving under the influence.
“I got the phone call the night of the accident and at that moment I could not even speak or do anything,” Gorlesky said.
That changed, though, when Gorlesky visited her friend in the hospital three days after the crash. She was struck by the strength Flowers showed.
“Even with the pain she was going through, she was able to smile, make a few jokes and even talk about what had happened. It was a beautiful thing to see,” Gorlesky said. “I knew that, if she could manage to do that with everything she had going on around her, I could do something to maybe relieve some of the stress she was facing.”
Gorlesky was inspired to organize a fundraiser, and has since put her all into it. Hooters restaurant on Gateway Boulevard in Savannah, where the two worked together, will host a benefit car wash and raffle on Saturday from 11 a.m.-3 p.m.
Along with the expenses from her son’s funeral on June 13, Flowers’ medical bills are mounting. She has undergone the first of multiple surgeries she needs, and hasn’t left the hospital other than to attend Owen’s funeral.
“In times like this, I believe everyone wants to do something,” Gorlesky said. “There is nothing that can be said or done to change what happened, but everyone wants to. Even if it is in the slightest way, knowing that I helped means more to me than I can express.”
Gorlesky has done more than help “slightly.” She has been busy for the past three weeks organizing the fundraiser and collecting raffle donations from local businesses.
Raffle tickets are available for $2, $5 and $10, depending on the value of the prizes, and the drawings will begin at 2 p.m. The fundraiser also will include a dunk tank and bounce house.
“The response has truly been overwhelming,” Gorlesky said. “Many local businesses have donated for the raffle and people have been contacting me left and right to find out how they can help, whether it is by donating their time to help with the fundraiser or monetary-wise.”
Along with Saturday’s fundraiser, more than $15,000 has been donated to Flowers on the fundraising site www.GoFundMe.com. She expressed her gratitude in a June 13 Facebook post, the day her son was buried.
A week after the wreck that changed her life, Flowers stated that “after a few days of hard work, (she was) able to use all ten fingers and have enough mobility in (her) arms” to type the online thank-you note.
“It is so unbelievable to see how a whole community has come together to help and pay their respects toward my little man,” Flowers wrote. “I am very heavy-hearted and imagine I will be for quite some time, but the compassion shown by so many has very much lifted my spirits and for that I could never fully show my gratitude.”
Flowers described her son as her “everything.” Gorlesky said that was evident whenever she saw the two of them together.
“I never once saw him without a smile,” Gorlesky said of Owen. “He had a way of brightening everything up around him.”
Along with raising money, Saturday’s car wash and raffle also will promote safe driving. Representatives from Mothers Against Drunk Driving will be on hand.
“There is no reason for this ever to happen to another family again,” Gorlesky said.
Adrianna and Owen Fundraiser
June 28 from 11 a.m.-3 p.m.
Hooters of Savannah, I-95 and Highway 204 (exit 94)
Car wash/Raffle/Dunk tank/Bounce house
Drawing at 2 p.m.
Do not have to be present to win; first come, first pick
Statement necklace and studs from RMC Jewelry worth $46
$25 gift certificate to Leopold’s (2 available)
$25 gift certificate to Wild Wing (2 available)
$25 gift certificate to Molly MacPherson’s (2 available)
$40 worth of Spanky bucks
3-bottle wine basket from Jeff’s Beverage
$10 gift certificate, medium T-shirt, shot glass, drinking mason jar, coozie and shell bucket from Joe’s Crab Shack
1-month membership to Crossfit with cleanses
2 Sixth Sense Ghost Tour tickets worth $60
$50 gift certificate to Scents for Cents
$50 gift certificate to Pamela Pawloski Photography
1 hour Swedish massage at Milan Day Spa
Rounds of golf at Crosswinds Golf Club
$50 gift certificate to Bass Pro
6-month gym membership to 24/7 (2 available)
Smooth Scents handmade soap basket worth $55
Chevron maxi dress, starfish cuff and “hope” necklace from RMC Jewelry worth $76
Hooters golf bag worth $250
Custom cornhole boards by Wilmington Woodworking worth $175
$100 gift certificate to Carter Ink (2 available)
Hunter Cattle beef and pork family pack
Harley Davidson bike rental with goodies
Conceal backpack filled with goodies from Nineline worth $150
$100 gift certificate for JBurns Bikinis
$100 gift certificate to Bass Pro
Huge goodie bag from GNC in Pooler