The spirit of friendship was palpable Thursday afternoon in front of the Aspen fire station as teenagers close to Mackenzie Langley raised more than $2,500 to help the injured Aspen High School student with her medical bills.
Langley was a passenger in a vehicle that rolled over and crashed at 1:15 a.m. Monday off Castle Creek Road near the Aspen Music Festival and School campus. The driver and another passenger were wearing seatbelts and suffered minor injuries, according to the Colorado State Patrol. Langley was not wearing a seatbelt; friends said she suffered severe injuries to her jaw and her back.
Excessive speed is believed to be the cause of the crash, state police said.
Friends of Langley, 16, washed cars, sold cookies and muffins and collected donations on her behalf for three hours in front of the East Hopkins Avenue fire station. They also took time to talk with adults who are concerned about the hockey, lacrosse and soccer player, who is recuperating in an intensive-care unit at Children’s Hospital in Denver following surgeries.
Langley, who was airlifted to the Denver hospital, will be a junior at Aspen High during the next school year.
Soon-to-be senior Jordan Cramer, 17, said she and Langley became friends not long after Cramer moved to Aspen two years ago.
“Mackenzie is a friend to everyone,” Cramer said. “We’re trying to show Mackenzie how much we all love her, and we’re all out here to support her. I think everyone loves Mackenzie and gives anything they can to help her.”
Langley was a member of the U19 Aspen Junior Hockey team that won a state championship in late February. Missy Amato, one of the coaches in Aspen Junior Hockey, was getting her car washed Thursday to help the cause.
“Mackenzie’s very athletic,” Amato said. “She always has a smile on her face, and she’s always excited to be wherever she is. She’s the biggest sweetheart to anybody and everybody. She has a huge influence on the little kids; everybody looks up to her.”
Hockey teammate Emma Harvey, 17, who will be a senior, said Langley is one of the most positive people she knows.
“I’ve never seen her be negative,” Harvey said. “At a hockey game, if we were losing, everyone was kind of upset, but she was upbeat. Also with friendships, I’ve never heard anyone say a bad thing about her. We’re all rooting for her.”
Senior Michaela Perau said some people who stopped by to get their car washed gave $100 without asking for change. The suggested donation was $10.
Perau said she received news that Langley’s condition is improving and that she is starting to feel pain in her legs, which is a good sign. Her spinal cord was not severed.
“She was in a medically induced coma, but she’s coming out of that and waking up,” she said.
A Facebook page listed as “Friends of Mackenzie Langley” has been established for well-wishers. An account has been set up at Alpine Bank for those who would like to donate money toward her medical fund. The Facebook page says that the Alpine Bank account contains more than $10,000 so far.