$10,000 raised for Khali

Khali Zabian. Photo provided by Faith 2 Faith Ministries

LEE —Lise and Dick Shields are sitting in their office, marveling and teary-eyed about the community's display of love and generosity after calamity struck the Zabian family in August.

"I've been doing this for 50 years," said Dick Shields, of his family business, Dresser-Hull Lumber & Building supply Co. "This is the most rewarding thing that's happened to me. I was just floating in the clouds. This is a book in the making."

Shields is talking about the $10,000 raised from a company raffle last month to benefit the family of Khali Zabian, who will have to undergo lengthy and expensive rehabilitation from a brain injury suffered when she was hit by a car in Great Barrington in August.

Zabian had just had a car accident herself, when, standing outside her car on Route 7, she was struck by a teen driver.

The company raffled off some equipment, including a lawn mower. All of it went to Berkshire residents, even though tourists also bought plenty of raffle tickets, Dick Shields said.

The lawnmower, in fact, went to a 81-year-old woman, a resident of Lenoxdale.

"That made it even better," he said.

"People came," Lise Shields said. "We did not ask."

Kahli Zabian's father, Ali Zabian, said that his daughter is making progress in "small steps." She can whisper, read the time on a cellphone, recognize him and move her left hand, a sign that she will eventually gain movement in her left leg, which is receiving extensive physical therapy.

"It's a big deal," he said. "In two months time it's a godsend from where she was."

She is still working on cognition and processing, like correctly speaking colors or names. But she isn't eating well, as "nothing tastes right." And in one month, doctors will insert skull plates to help contain brain fluid that is moving around, he said.

His wife, daughter, and other family as well as Kahli Zabian's boyfriend are staying at the Ronald McDonald House in Boston, to be with Zabian every day at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital.

Ali Zabian says the outpouring of prayers, love and practical help like that from the raffle are getting them all through.

"Every day people come in," Zabian said of his haberdashery on Main Street. "It's what keeps me going."

Heather Bellow can be reached at hbellow@berkshireeagle.com or on Twitter @BE_hbellow and 413-329-6871.

The winner of the lawnmower is 81. The age was wrong in the first publishing of this article.