WEST HAVEN, Conn. - A 22-year-old Connecticut woman was realizing her dream at an internship with Disney when she suffered a devastating blow last weekend.
Gabby Murillo earned her Disney internship through Gateway Community College. She had been in Orlando for the past month.
"She is obsessed with Disney," Gabby's sister Jennifer said. "She’s been trying to get into this college program for probably four years. And when she got that acceptance letter, we were over the moon for her."
After getting a life-changing opportunity, Gabby's life changed again in an instant while stopped at a red light in Orlando with her friend.
"They were hit at full speed by a drunk driver," Jennifer Murillo told WTIC. "He actually fled the scene. The cops, luckily, were able to catch him."
Gabby Murillo was paralyzed from the neck down.
"The fractured vertebrae severed the spinal cord," Jennifer Murillo said.
In just a day and a half, a GoFundMe page created to defray what will be a mountain of medical expenses had raised over $61,000. A customized van for Gabby will cost at least $50,000, according to Jennifer Murillo.
"I do believe in the power of prayer," said longtime Murillo family friend and neighbor Heidi Delaker.
Still, the news crushes the neighborhood Gabby has grown up in.
"Our little street here, we are very close," Delaker said. "We, we stick together and we are like family and Gabby is family."
The Murillo family is humbled by the support, including from those who don't know Gabby.
"I know my parents they are so grateful for every little message that you are sending to Gabby," said Jennifer Murillo. "They read them to her."
Her sisters all had messages of encouragement for the youngest of four girls.
"Don’t give up," said Gabby's sister Cassandra Murillo. "We, we are not going to give up on you. So just keep moving forward and keep the positive thoughts up."
Welling up, with tears, Gabby's oldest sister, Amanda Maurutis, said, "We have your back and all of the community that has been there and supported you and loved you and you got this."