A 12-year-old girl from the suburbs of Chicago was traveling in Spain earlier this summer when a train on which she was riding sped off the rails and crashed on a treacherous curve, killing 79 people.
The derailment in Santiago de Compostela left hundreds injured, including Lucia Ruiz, a sixth-grader from Deerfield, Ill., who was vacationing with an aunt and uncle.
Lucia was so badly injured in Spain that she has been unable to leave the hospital there since the July 24 crash. Her parents, who live in Illinois, have had to travel back and forth to Spain numerous times to care for the girl, and are struggling to pay for the expenses, according to Kyle Erickson, spokesman for the GiveForward, a website hosting a fundraiser to help pay for her expenses.
"She had serious complications with her hips, legs, internal bleeding. She's in pretty bad shape," Erickson said. "Right now, she's not able to travel back to the U.S."
Lucia's parents, Ismael Ruiz and Paloma Dominquez La Rosa, declined to comment to ABC News, but Erickson said a family friend had set up the fundraising website to help pay for Lucia's care in Spain, including money for what are expected to be months of physical therapy as she heals.
"Insurance may cover some of the hundreds of thousands of dollars from being in the ICU, but there are travel expenses to and from the hospital, and physical therapy is generally not covered by insurance, and she's going to have to learn to walk again," Erickson said. "We don't know what the long-term outlook is."
For now, the girl will be stuck receiving care in Spain indefinitely, he said, and unable to return home to start school in the fall with her peers. She's expected to live but her injuries are too severe for her to travel home, he said.
Officials say the train was traveling at 121 mph in a 50-mph zone when it crashed. The driver, who officials say ignored three warnings to reduce speed in the two minutes before the crash, was allegedly talking on a cellphone during the derailment. He has been charged with negligent homicide.
The fundraising page for the Ruiz family has raised more than $40,000 since it was launched Aug. 6.
The organizer of the page posts periodic updates on Lucia's treatment, noting the first time she was able to get out of bed and sit in a chair.
"[Mom] Paloma also said that Lucia is feeling pretty blue, but reading all of the posts on the GiveForward page brings a smile to her face," Sara Breyfogle, the family friend who started the site, wrote on the page.