Injured firefighter needs help getting rehab

BELEN, N.M. (KRQE) – A young woman who made it her mission in life to help others now needs help from others.

Nikki Lardner comes from a family with a long history of helping the city of Belen.

But six months ago, her life and the lives of all who know her changed, all because of a car crash.

At 21 years old, Lardner still has her whole life ahead of her.

She was a volunteer firefighter in Belen and had just begun her job at the Valencia County Detention Center and applied to the State Police.

Her whole mission in life was helping others, but on Oct. 9, her life got a lot harder.

While driving along Highway 47 south of Belen, she suddenly hit her brakes, ran off the shoulder, then flipped her car six times.

She survived, but isn’t the same. The nerves throughout her brain were sheared like a frayed rope.

But this determined young lady has shown a lot of progress over the last few months.

Nikki has been accepted into a rehabilitation center in El Paso that provides specialized treatment she needs, but the treatment is expensive and not covered by her insurance.

Family friends have now started a Facebook campaign to raise funds. Those who visit the site will find out the Lardners are no ordinary family.

“If you drive anywhere in Belen, or many places in Albuquerque, if you look around, see something Lardners gave or had a hand in building or doing or help with,” said family friend Debbie Trujillo.

Unfortunately, this isn’t the first time the Lardners’ world has come crashing down.

A few years ago, Nikki’s dad, Tim Lardner, was diagnosed with stage four cancer and died soon after.

“Janice and the kids lost everything at that point. They lost their home, they lost everything, and just started to get back on their feet pulling things together when Nikki was in this accident,” Trujillo said.

Now the community is coming together to get her family back on their feet again and re-energize the young lady that once had so much life in her.

“What goes around should come around, and the family has given their whole lives,” said Trujillo. “They’ve helped as long as I’ve known them, over 30 years. If everyone would help a little bit, then they can give Nikki some hope for life and help her come back as far as she can.”

Those who would like to donate can visit teamnikki.org.

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