Resident injured at Bele Chere tells her story

Asheville is the most socially diverse, globally aware and forward-thinking city I have ever lived in. My future mother-in-law knows how much I love this city and [she] decided to come visit Asheville during this year’s Bele Chere.

On July 24, I finished work and decided to meet my mother-in-law downtown. We decided to watch the dog jumping competition and found a spot on the bleachers. I decided to grab a burrito from Salsa's, since I had not eaten all day. I ordered a burrito and purchased a beer. The beer was in a bottle and without a twist top. I politely asked the girl behind the counter to open my newly purchased beverage. She stated that she could not open the bottle because of city laws. Then she handed over a cup and told me that I had to put the bottle in a recycling bin after pouring the contents into the cup. I agreed and went back to my mother in law with my hands full.

When I arrived at the bleachers, I did just as the woman instructed. Upon returning the bottle to the bin, I fell. The news claimed it was heat exhaustion, but I tripped over a man's cane. The bottle crushed under my wrist and severed my median nerve. It was a nightmare but I have say the citizens of Asheville saved my life that day.

Two weeks after surgery, I still [had] not regained feeling in my hand. The doctor doesn't know how much damage has been done; I need extensive amounts of physical therapy that I cannot afford without insurance. I contacted many government offices to try and receive help. Much to my dismay, I am not eligible for many government programs. Not because I have played the system, but because I am a young, productive member of society. The government doesn't give aid to people [who are] without children or younger than 65. I cannot apply for unemployment because I am not fit to work. I have rent, a car payment and need further medical attention. I have extinguished all of my resources, so what is going to happen to me?

This happens to people all over the country every day, and it is a crime. I put my hard-earned pay into this establishment for 15 years and I want my money back.

— Shawn Sink

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