USF Sorority Raises Funds for Classmate in Cuban Hospital

Aug 24, 2015
Originally published on August 28, 2015 4:06 pm

A University of South Florida senior is in a Cuban hospital following a recent car crash, but she can't return to the United States because her family doesn't have health insurance. 

Barbara "Barbie" Jimenez was seriously injured in a car accident outside of Havana on August 3. Jimenez, 22, her boyfriend John Fox and two of her relatives were riding in a taxi cab that was struck head on by a government transportation truck.

The cab driver was killed, while Jimenez and the other three passengers were seriously injured. Jimenez was in a coma for five days after the accident. Fox, who works for Northrop Grumman in Melbourne, Florida, was airlifted from Havana to a Miami hospital, where he continues recovering from his injuries. The two other passengers, Jimenez's cousin and aunt, are both in stable condition.

Jimenez has since come out of the coma, but her sister says head trauma and a tracheotomy make it difficult for her to speak. In addition, she reportedly doesn't know why she's in the hospital.

Jimenez's medical insurance had recently lapsed, and her family can't afford to fly her back home. In addition, several air ambulance companies have turned down requests to transport her due to U.S.-Cuban relations. Northrop Grumman, which paid for Fox's transportation to Miami, told the family they could fly her home, but it would cost $50,000.

Now members of Jimenez's sorority, the Beta Gamma chapter of Lambda Theta Alpha, are raising money to assist the family. As of Monday afternoon, a GoFundMe campaign has raised almost $10,000 of the $75,000 the sorority is trying to collect.

Jimenez was supposed to graduate with a bachelor's degree in philosophy this fall. She'd also been studying for the LSAT exam and wanted to attend Florida State University's law school.