Kentucky survivors of stage collapse ask for help
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A Kentucky couple who survived the deadly Indiana State Fair stage collapse now calls it the nightmare that just won't end, but a Louisville company is going out of its way to help those victims grapple with their grief.
"It happened so slow," recalled Cheryl Ruckriegel. "Then you're laying on the ground because we both got trampled, and then you're wondering, 'am I here or am I in the next life?'"
WDRB interviewed Ruckriegel and her partner "C" Markey in their Bullitt County home just six days after a 70 mph wind gust toppled the stage at a Sugarland concert, killing 7 people and injuring dozens more.
Today, they are still trying to recover.
"Each day it's hard because I can't look at her, hug her or anything like that because it's just not the same anymore," Ruckriegel said.
Ruckriegel says Markey had a blackout.
"It all changed when we went to the KY State Fair," she said. "We walked around. There was loud noise, and by the time we got home, she had no memory. Absolutely none."
"It's a daily experience," said Markey. "Literally like learning life over again. It's frustrating."
The couple doesn't have an exact diagnosis. Doctors are testing for post-traumatic stress disorder.
"[She] got moved to a different hospital for psychiatric treatment and she was in there for 35 days," Ruckriegel said. "Her insurance for paying prescriptions has maxed out for the year so now it's all out of pocket. We can't do it."
But unexpected hope has sprung from tragedy. Louisville-based Ohio Valley Wrestling is performing a benefit show Friday night in Indianapolis.
"Hopefully they come out and have a good time, and we can celebrate, as opposed to mourn," said James "Paredyse" Long, a representative of the wrestling organization.
Proceeds go to the Indiana State Fair Remembrance Fund and stage collapse victims.
"It's just kind of a good feeling to be able to give, and not worry about what's going in your pockets," said Frank Miller, of Ohio Valley Wrestling. "It's about how much can we make to give these people because they need it."
The latest reports show 66 claims filed against the state. The deadline to file is Nov. 1.
Originally Ruckriegel and Markey said they wouldn't do it because they only suffered bumps, bruises and a sprained ankle.
"I wouldn't really call them dreams. I'd call them nightmares," Markey said.
They have since changed their minds.
"You see different tragedies and we've given to different charities, but it doesn't really hit home until you're a part of it and you need help. Right now we need help," Ruckriegel said.
The wrestling show coincides with a Sugarland benefit concert that is also happening tomorrow in Indianapolis.
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