By CARRIE ANTLFINGER
MILWAUKEE (AP) — There’s a 15-year-old Florida girl who didn’t really know much about Charlie Sheen before this week — but does now.
The actor wired $10,000 to Teagan Marti and her family on Thursday for a therapy dog to help in her rehabilitation from injuries sustained when she plummeted 100 feet from a Wisconsin amusement park ride in 2010.
“I think he’s a very kind person for helping me and my family and very generous,” Teagan Marti said by phone Thursday from her home in Parkland, Fla.
Teagan Marti suffered brain, spine, pelvis and internal injuries in July 2010 when nets and air bags that were supposed to catch riders on a free-fall ride were not raised. She had convinced her family to make the trip from Florida to Extreme World in Wisconsin Dells after seeing the amusement park's Terminal Velocity ride on the Travel Channel.
She was hospitalized in Wisconsin and Florida for three months. She initially had no use of her arms or legs but through physical therapy is able to walk again with a walker.
Teagan Marti's mother, Julie Marti, said they are financially in trouble from the medical bills and her recent divorce. Their house is being foreclosed upon and insurance isn't covering physical therapy anymore, she said. She had no idea how they would pay for the English Golden Retriever puppy.
"I'm in such disbelief," Julie Marti said. "I was crying. … What a guy. What a guy."
The dog is being trained in Fond du Lac to turn on lights, pick up objects and be the teen’s constant companion.
Lucia Wilgus, of Eau Claire, became friends with the Martis after hearing of the accident and has spearheaded fundraising and helped find the dog and arrange training.
She sent a letter this week to Sheen through Sheen’s godfather, who is a Wilgus family friend and Benedictine brother in the Benet Lake, Wis. She estimated the training and related costs would be around $6,000.
Sheen said he decided to give more for extra costs. The request had a "personal vibe" since it came through his godfather, and "if there's a need for more I told them to call me," he said.
"I like to pay it forward," Sheen said Thursday in a phone interview from Los Angeles. "People come into your orbit for a reason. You don't always know what that is ahead of time, but if I ignore these requests then I don't have any opportunity to see where these things lead us, or lead me."
He said he doesn’t like to publicize most of his donations, but wanted to talk about this one to inspire others to donate.
Teagan Marti gets the dog on her birthday in September but hasn’t made up her mind on a name.
“I think they should name the dog Charlie,” Sheen joked.
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