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Cyclist faces a long road to recovery after crash that killed her friend: 'I will have to live for Jonah'

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Posted at 11:20 PM, Aug 16, 2022

HENRICO COUNTY, Va. -- A tragic accident Saturday took the life of Jonah Holland who was killed on her bike by a driver who police say was drunk.

Holland was riding with Natalie Rainer, who was critically injured in the crash.

I spoke with the Rainer family Tuesday night who say Natalie remains in the hospital and faces an extremely long road to recovery.

“When they took Natalie’s breathing tube out, the first words she whispered were 'I will have to live for Jonah,'” her uncle Dr. Bob Rainer said Tuesday. “Her stoic words are inspiring to everyone in the family. And it's just it's the kind of person that Natalie is. She sees the loss of her biking friend, her companion, and her yoga friend. and she takes this as this is her battle cry: 'I have to live for Jonah.'”

Rainer says his family is rallying behind Natalie, especially given the extent of her injuries.

“Thank God we don't think there's any brain or spinal cord damage,” said Rainer. “She has a broken pelvis in two places. Broken femur, numerous cracked ribs, cracked orbit, collarbone. She's, she's beaten up. They were able to repair liver damage. Ovary damage. But these things are survivable. And Natalie is a fighter.”

It will be a long road.

Rainer says the 30-year-old SwimRVA employee has been riding seriously for the last four years, but it will be some time before Natalie gets back on a bike. He says for all the trauma Natalie has suffered, her family knows she was in some ways lucky and that his heart goes out to the Holland family.

“I feel for the family of Jonah Holland,” Rainer said. “They have to bury a family member because of the stupidity and senseless random act of a drunk driver and it's heartbreaking.”

A vigil and ride are planned to honor Holland's memory and to wish Natalie a speedy recovery on Thursday at Crump Park at 6 p.m.

The Rainer family has started a GoFundMe to help with Natalie’s extensive medical bills and what could be a long rehabilitation, as well as time away from work. They say they are touched and grateful for all the members of the community who have already pitched in to help her.

“Natalie's the lucky one who's surviving this,” Rainer said. “As a family, we are overwhelmed with gratitude for the outpouring of support for Natalie and Jonah.”

If you would like to donate, click here.

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