Granddaughter of former Caraway residents on tap for pioneer surgery

Thursday, September 2, 2004
Holly Berry

A young lady, Holly Berry, with ties to the Caraway and Buffalo Island area is in need of help from anyone that would like to be of assistance.

Holly is a college student in Orlando, Fla. Due to an automobile accident two years ago, Holly is paralyzed.

Her great-aunt, Verna Waters Sneed, of Caraway, calls Holly a remarkable young woman.

"She had the wreck in June, started to college in August and continues to live her life. Instead of asking 'why me' she has continued her education and drives herself to school and back," Sneed said.

The former cheerleader now plays wheelchair basketball. Before the accident she worked at SeaWorld in Orlando. Even with her full college schedule, she manages to still work one day at SeaWorld.

Sneed explained that Holly is the granddaughter of her sister, Freda Waters Berry, and Bill Berry of Newbern, Tenn. Mrs. Berry is a former Caraway resident. She is the great-granddaughter of T.J. and Ima Jean Wallace Waters who now live at Greer's Ferry. They too, are former Caraway residents.

Sneed explained that Holly has the opportunity to have surgery in Portugal that could help her.

"She has been accepted for the surgery, but her insurance will not cover it. Once she got the word, there is little time to raise the money and we are all trying to help her have this chance," Sneed said.

Sneed is taking donations on a 25" color television. All of the money raised will go to the fund for Holly.

"The NEAT organization in Caraway donated some cookbooks, and I sold all of them quickly. All of the money will go to Holly. I appreciate their help," Sneed said. "We appreciate everyone's help."

Her need is best told in Holly's own words in a letter that she sent to her family and friends.

Dear friends and family,

As many of you know I was paralyzed in a car accident just over two years ago. While many years ago this would have been a hopeless situation, it doesn't have to be anymore. Medical technology has come leaps and bounds in the last few decades and doctors are now devoting their entire lives to find a cure for paralysis. I myself have had the wonderful opportunity to be one of the first to receive what could possibly be the cure. I have met the strict guidelines to undergo an experimental surgery in Portugal, with one of the leading spinal cord doctors, Dr. Carlos Lima. Due to the fact that our FDA and government here in America are so strict, we are years behind the countries that are already seeing incredible return in the few test subjects that have already undergone the surgery.

The surgery that I will undergo involves removing the olfactory cells from my sinus cavity and placing them in my spinal cord to replace the cells already lost. These unique cells are one of the few cells in your body that have the capability to "communicate" with the old spinal cord nerves. Should my surgery go well maybe one-day paralysis will be a thing of the past. However, getting accepted to be a part of this amazing opportunity is only the beginning for us.

Due to the fact that it is an experimental surgery in another country our insurance will not be covering any of the cost. It has now become my focus for the next few months to fundraise and come up with the total cost of the surgery and travel. I have until October to raise the money and due to the fact that I am in my final year of college, I find myself without the ability to make the money on my own. That is why we have turned to our family and friends in an effort to make my dream of walking again a reality. If you could find it in your heart to help us out in any way you can or know someone else who can help we will be eternally grateful. God Bless you all and keep your families safe.

Love Always,

Holly Berry

P.S.: Should anyone wish to view any of the information on this wonderful surgery it can be found at and also www. and episode6.htm1.

Sneed said Holly's surgery is scheduled for Oct. 1. Her parents, Billy and Leah Berry, will accompany her to Portugal for the surgery.

She is going home to Newbern to see the family on Labor Day before her trip.

"In addition to donations, we especially ask for and appreciate the prayers from our friends and neighbors across Buffalo Island. Even after surgery, Holly will be looking at a lot of therapy and hard work," Sneed said. "Holly said she has already had several miracles in her life. She survived the wreck and said she is thankful to have a supportive, loving family and so many friends."

If anyone would like to help financially they can send a tax deductible gift to Holly Berry c/o Sun Trust Bank, 13950 John Young Parkway, Orlando, Fla. 32837.

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