A Florida man is fighting for his life after a pre-wedding getaway with his soon-to-be-wife took a dangerous turn.
Kelly Drake and her fiancé Armani Alicea were just two weeks away from tying the knot when they were involved in a serious white water rafting incident, according to Drake's best friend Gabrielle Yontz and a GoFundMe page set up by a family friend, Kelly Kinsler Delmotte.
Delmotte said the couple, whom she was hosting in Tennessee, was rafting down the Ocoee River Tuesday when things took a turn for the worst.
"About halfway through the trip, the raft struck a rock causing a huge jolt," Delmotte wrote on the fundraiser page. "Armani's T-handle of his oar hit him in the neck, causing an immediate rupture of his carotid artery causing him to bleed out."
The "unfortunate freak accident" led to Alicea getting life-flighted to Erlanger Trauma Center in Chattanooga, where he was "on life support and unresponsive," according to the GoFundMe.
Two days later, Delmotte noted in an update that the Florida man — who shares a 23-month-old daughter, Gigi, with Drake — was still in critical condition and suffering from brain swelling and seizure activity.
Because the couple, who are in their 20s, were far from home and all their relatives, Delmotte said she was creating the GoFundMe to assist them with medical and living expenses.
"Kelly and Armani's family have a long road ahead," Delmotte explained on the page. "Not only are the medical bills going to be astronomical, [but] their situation is complicated by being out of state."
"They have no family in Tennessee and have the added cost of hotel accommodations and food, etc.," she continued. "Please find it in your heart to continue to help this sweet family… Every bit helps!"
So far, the GoFundMe has raised over $27,000, with donations pouring in from hundreds of friends and family members.
"We are praying for Armani and his beautiful family. He is a treasured part of the USAA family and very important to his fellow Renegades Teammates," one person wrote on the page.
"I'm so very sorry this has happened," added someone else. "Armani is in God's Hands and will be taken care of. Kelly is such a beautiful person inside and out and her little family is so precious. Many prayers and deepest love for this precious family."
Loved ones also shared their heartbreak on Facebook and sent well wishes to the couple.
Yontz explained in her post that the pair was on a "pre-wedding trip when an awful freak accident happened," and explained how Alicea's life is now "in serious jeopardy."
"If you know Kelly Drake and Armani, you would know the type of amazing people they are," she wrote in the post. "The most beautiful couple with an amazing 2-year-old little girl. Kelly and Armani would do anything for anyone, even if they didn’t know you."
"They are set to get married in just two short weeks," she continued. "My heart is absolutely broken and I’m completely devastated for what my best friend has to go through."
"She is the strongest woman, and handling everything with such grace while putting her burden into God's hands," she added. "[Alicea] is a fighter and would pray for any single person who would ever go through such a terrible scenario… Everyone be safe and hug your loved ones extra tight."
Those interested in helping the couple can do so here.
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