KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Parents of a University of Tennessee student have been reunited with their daughter after nearly losing her when a car struck the bike she was riding.
On May 23, University of Tennessee international student Tong Kou was hit by a vehicle while riding her bike. The accident left Kou with life-threatening injuries which require long-term, intensive physical therapy. Kou moved from China to the United States in January 2021, and is a doctoral student in the Haslam College of Business economics program.
Kou’s parents left their jobs and traveled more than 7,000 miles to be by her side following a biking accident. Rachel Rui, director of the Office of Asia Engagement and communications director at the Center of Global Engagement, said it took Kou’s parents three days to arrive in the U.S. due to COVID-19 travel restrictions.
“The whole team here worked really hard to get the parents here, it felt impossible at the time with the travel restrictions,” Rui said. “I am very moved by their persistency, Kou and her family have been nothing but brave.”
After five months at the University of Tennessee Medical Center, and numerous surgeries, Kou was moved Oct. 14 to continue rehabilitation in Atlanta.
Doctors say Kou has already made remarkable strides toward recovery, but still has a long way to go. Her insurance will cover the physical therapy for a short time, but will soon expire.
Rui said getting Kou and her family back on their feet is the main priority. The Knoxville Internationals Network has established a GoFundMe for Kou and her parents to help pay for medical and living expenses. If you have interest in contributing to their benefit, you can do so here.
The GoFundMe is listed under the name and organization of Betsy Barr, an organizer for the fund.
“Betsy has extensive living experience in China and speaks Mandarin, she is very generous to help out this family,” Rui said.
Kou and her family are Chinese nationals and cannot be listed as beneficiaries under U.S. law. Neither Betsy nor the Knoxville Internationals Network will receive any of the fees collected by the GoFundMe. All of the collected funds will go to Kou’s parents.