Saturday, January 27, 2007

Young hero with promising future dies of seizure in her sleep

Nikki Blanton had a dream of being a doctor. But the 26-year-old, who was injured in a traffic collision last year after helping pull a man from a wrecked car, didn’t get to see her medical dreams come true.Blanton, a resident of Grayson, died last week in her home while she was sleeping, according to Blanton’s mother Alina Himelick.Himelick said Blanton’s death was caused by a seizure in her sleep.“

She went to bed at 10:30,” her mother said “She wasn’t feeling well, and she never woke.”Many view Blanton as a hero, including a local district attorney who honored her for her act of bravery.“She wanted to be a doctor, and you know how doctors are — they’re very caring people,” Himelick said. “I would say that she was an outstanding citizen, that she was a pillar of the community and she was going to serve people the rest of her life.”

Himelick also said Blanton wanted to use her experiences as a way of helping people in the medical profession.“She thought this happened to her to be a better doctor, not only a sympathetic doctor but an empathetic doctor.”As for her injury, she and boyfriend Brian Crowl stopped to help the man out of his vehicle on an interstate, and soon after, both were struck by a hydroplaning vehicle and injured.Blanton was still recovering from her injuries at the time of her death, her mother said.

“She was in a lot of pain,” Himelick said of Blanton’s condition. “I think she was living on borrowed time — I mean nobody gets hit by a car driving 60 miles an hour and lives.”Himelick also said Crowl proposed to Blanton the night she fell asleep for the last time.Blanton suffered from a family disease that among other things caused her to have recurring seizures and nightmares, Himelick said.

“The disease that we have comes with seizures, and she was on overload,” Himelick said. “She had a good attitude the whole time, but she was in a lot of pain.”Blanton, a graduate of South Gwinnett High School and the University of Georgia, was an active cheerleader and an honors student in high school, her mother said. She also held down full-time jobs while attending college at UGA, where she graduated with honors.


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