Family turns prayers, energy to helping beating victim



Of The Post and Courier Staff

Originally Published on: 06/15/02

While the man accused of attacking her sat in a North Carolina jail Friday, Carol Armstrong struggled to recover from a brutal beating that left her partially paralyzed and hospitalized in intensive care.

Family members gathered in a waiting lounge at Medical University Hospital, consoling one another and praying for her recovery. To some, the assault still seems more nightmare than reality. But one look at the 37-year-old mother of two tells them her injuries are all too real. The man who attacked the North Charleston woman behind a medical office building Monday left her head with multiple fractures, leaving only her jaw unbroken. She has undergone surgery to relieve swelling on her brain, and her left side is paralyzed. She communicates with relatives by squeezing their hands.

"We have our hopes up because she has been responding (to treatment), but she is not out of the woods by any means," said James Armstrong, her husband of 11 years.

He and other family members find it unbelievable that someone would want to harm Carol. An active member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, she spent her time helping others, babysitting for friends, volunteering at her eldest son's school and giving rides to church to the elderly. A devoted mother, she worked nights so she could be with her children during the day.
People in the community and across the country have offered support and prayers, which have buoyed the family's spirits, said Lynda Armstrong, her mother-in-law. The family is also grateful and relieved that North Charleston police made an arrest, she said.

"This lets us focus on Carol," she said.

Since she was found, James Armstrong has been at the hospital around the clock, taking only one four-hour break to spend time with the couple's sons, ages 9 and 4. He has faith that his wife will recover, but knows their life has been forever changed. Carol will likely spend months in the hospital and then require extensive physical therapy and care.

A fund has been established to help pay for Armstrong's medical expenses. Donations can be made to the Carol Armstrong Medical Expense Fund at any First Federal branch office.

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