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Hundreds Take to Rec Hall for 'Pray for Paige' Vigil

by on October 18, 2012 9:59 PM

The sign on the doors said the South Gym in Rec Hall was closed for the night, but inside, hundreds of students sat, some holding hands, others in 'Penn State Cheerleading' t-shirts – all praying for Paige Raque's quick recovery. 

Raque, 19, fell 39 feet from a fifth-story window in Calder Commons, 520 E. Calder Way, at 11:46 p.m. on Saturday. She was life flighted to trauma center at Altoona Regional Health Center and her brother, Parker Raque, tweeted that she was in the Intensive Care Unit on Monday. Paige Raque remains in critical condition and the family's spokesman, men's gymnastics coach Randy Jepson, said the Penn State cheerleader suffered a brain injury as a result of her fall.

The Twitter hashtag #prayforpaige has been circulating around the Penn State community since Sunday and on Thursday night, hundreds of her friends and supporters came together, bringing all the emotion and hope for her strength into one place. 

Lindsey Graybill, a Penn State senior, helped organize the event – a movement that came together in less than 24 hours. 

"It was kind of a group effort in general. It was kind of an idea sparked at our Bible study-fusion yesterday – it's a Bible study for student-athletes at Penn State and anyone else, too –  and it honestly just snowballed from there," Graybill said. "Other people in our Bible study just stepped up ... It's really cool to see." 

Graybill said most importantly, she hopes the Raque family can take some comfort in knowing they have the support of the Penn State student body. 

"It's amazing ... I'm hoping, for her and her family to see the support ... It gives you chills to see the athletes and the community come together for one person in such a tough situation. Right now, it's a lot of support and I really think it will help her get through it." 

Many of Paige's teammates were out in support, hoping for the best for their friend after a long week. 

"It's been hard, but we're all just trying to think as positively as possible and just being thankful that the situation turned out as good as it possibly could have because it could have turned out very tragically," said Sarah Markel, a fellow Penn State cheerleader. 

"I don't cry, and I started crying as soon as I saw people coming in that weren't a part of our team. It's very moving and it's very heartwarming to me to know that people who don't even know Paige are coming out here and showing their support.

"It makes us all very happy to know that [Penn State] is behind us, and behind Paige and behind her family. 

State College Police Department Leiutenant Smail said on Thursday the incident and surrounding events of Saturday night are still under investigation. 



Laura Nichols is a StateCollege.com news reporter and @LC_Nichols on Twitter.
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