USF student who survived car crash in Cuba, set to graduate

Barbara Jimenez is set to graduate from USF.

SEMINOLE, Fla (WFLA) — Barbara Jimenez traveled to Cuba last year to visit family and on day one, she got into a major car accident.

Jimenez was in a coma for days. What’s worse, her health insurance lapsed and she didn’t have money to get back home, until a company, Jet ICU, stepped in to help.

Now she’s laughing and loving life and is on the verge of a major change. She is graduating from the University of South Florida.

“So, yeah, I’m doing the walk everything you know. Homecoming queen wave,” Jimenez joked.

Despite what she’s been through, she is graduating only one semester later than originally planned.

“The fact that my doctors were telling me, ‘take more time, take more time off… I’m like, ‘No’,  I have three classes. I’m not going to wait another year of doing nothing to graduate with my bachelors.”

U.S. Representative David Jolly was instrumental in helping connect Jimenez’s family with Jet ICU.

“A lot of people in the Tampa Bay area wanted to help. Barbara’s story is a testament to the good will of the people of the Bay area to come together and say, ‘How do we work through the diplomatic challenges? How we work through the medical transport challenges? What receiving hospital might be able to take her when she returns?” said Rep. David Jolly.

And now that Jimenez is home, healing and happy, she’s ready for the next chapter in her life as she graduates Saturday from USF.

“This next year I will be working and teaching,” she said. “And I do plant to go to law school in Fall of 2017.”

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