Orly Ohayon: 'It's important to have faith and keep going'

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- You might think she would be bitter. At least full of frowns. But not Orly Ohayon. And that's despite the fact that she has been left an orphan. The Wolfson High School junior lost her dad to lung cancer years ago. And last September, Orly lost her mom in a crash on San Jose Boulevard.

Orly says the question, "Why?" comes up a lot. But, she said, "It's not important to know the answer. But it's important to have faith faith and keep going."

"Just because it seems bad from your perspective doesn't mean God has something bad for you planned because everything He does is for the good," Orly said.

Orly and her mom were trying to walk across San Jose to go to synagogue. A car hit them. The driver was never charged. Police say the light was green.

Crews rushed Orly to the hospital. According to her family, she was told for a while that her mother was in the hospital, a necessary twist of the truth just to keep Orly fighting for life. She was touch and go.

Her family said she had a broken tibia in two places, a broken pelvis, a sprained ankle, a lacerated kidney and a punctured lung.

Yes, she said, recovery was painful. Orly still has a tough time finding words to describe the physical pain. Not like someone stabbing her, but pain that aches deeply.

The emotional pain, though, is another story.

And it's when Orly rises to an amazing level of maturity and spirit.

Her rabbi, Yaakov Fisch, said, "Orly is Orly." He knows that she has a positive attitude beyond her years.

He teaches that the way "God created and runs the world sometimes eludes us." But he has faith Orly's mom is in a "special place now."

And that's exactly what he told her in the hospital the Sunday after the accident Friday night. He was the one who had to break the news to Orly that her mom passed away. One of the hardest" things he's ever had to do, he said.

Orly and her mom lived by themselves in their San Jose home. So now Orly's sister, Ilana, has come from Israel to stay with Orly and "push" her to keep up with her homework.

Orly is in the Duval County Public Schools Hospital Homebound program, in which teachers come to her house to help her. Orly loves math and is planning to go to college and major in education.

That brings up a practical issue. She needs funding for college and funding to pay big medical bills. She has had multiple surgeries and rehab. Now she's up walking again, but the bills didn't go away.

If you want to help, visit this FundRazr page.

Orly also has a project to inspire good deeds, #ncysnothingcanstopyou.

Orly said she does not remember the accident. That's a blessing.

Another blessing? Orly explains that her mom chose her name, "Orly" from two words in Hebrew: it means "my light."

Her family and friends say that's exactly what Orly is to them right now, even though she's hurting inside.


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