Pike County Times
The Pike County Times, PO Box 843, Zebulon, Georgia 30295. You can donate through PayPal at the link on the bottom of the page. Becky Watts: Phone # 770-468-7583 editor(@)pikecountytimes.com
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Tory Merritt's Continued Fight for Her Health
By Editor Becky Watts

ZEBULON - Tory Merritt is preparing for her sixth surgery on Tuesday. It’s been a long and difficult summer with this major surgery coming on the heels of fighting for her life against flesh eating bacteria. But Tory is a fighter, and this isn’t the first big battle that she has fought in her life.

Tory was paralyzed from the waist down in a tornado in 1993. Since then she has been an inspiration for people around her with her positive outlook in life and she even came out to encourage others when tornados struck Lamar County in 2011. Above all, Tory is a fighter.

May 5, 2017 began her fight against Septic Shock and Necrotizing Fasciitis (flesh eating bacteria). This bacterial infection attacked Tory’s body tissues very quickly and her oldest daughter was told that if she had waited a few days longer, her Mom probably would have died. Tory spent time spent in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) on life support when she was admitted to the hospital.


Continued treatment from doctors with long hospital stays, surgeries to remove dead tissue, and then rest as her body fought and began to heal has made this summer one that will be remembered for some time to come. She is currently only able to sit up for three hours per day and only sits in her wheelchair about once a week. This is not normal for a woman who is used to working and attending Weight Watchers as an encourager for others!

But while the surgeries and extended recovery come to mind first of all, Tory told of how friends and many in the community have stepped in to help her as a single Mom and her girls, Baylynn and Jerilynn. Her lawn has been mowed all summer, meals have been provided for her and the girls, contributions have been made to help them pay the bills, and the list goes on! “Things like this have been so helpful,” Tory said.

And so many in the community have been praying for her recovery. Tory is grateful. “I just want everyone to know how much I appreciate their help and prayers.”

Tuesday’s Surgery

On Tuesday, September 5, Tory will undergo her sixth surgery to help cover the exposed area where the flesh eating bacteria attacked her skin. It’s a four hour surgery, and she won’t be able to leave the Shepard Center for four to six weeks. She could possibly be there for up to eight weeks.

In the midst of telling about the surgery however, she pointed out that her doctor is one of the top surgeons in the country and is the Director of Shepard Reconstructive and Plastic Surgery.

“I am praying that this is the last surgery and things can get back to “normal” again,” she said.

Ways to Help

Tory has been fighting to recover since May and has exhausted her sick and annual leave. She said that it could be another six months before she is recovered enough to go back to work. And she is now on leave without pay from her job.

$4,225 has been raised through the GoFundMe account started on Tory’s behalf by Shay Milner. Tory said that she has not had to dip into that account before now, but next week will be a different story because her leave ran out on Monday of this week.

If you would like to donate through the GoFundMe account, it can be found at: www.gofundme.com/torymerritt. If you would rather donate directly to Tory and her family, you can go into any United Bank location and ask to make a donation to the Tory Merritt Benefit Account. And if you have a United Bank account, you can also make a transfer by telephone by calling 770-567-7211 and asking a Customer Service Representative to transfer money in the Tory Merritt Benefit Account.

If you would like to bring a meal to the family, call or contact Tory through her Facebook to set that up.


Tory is looking at a serious surgery and a long recovery to get well after a bout with flesh eating bacteria, but her outlook is good and she is being taken care of by some of the best doctors around.

Please keep Tory and her family in your prayers first of all and then help out however you can. Pike County is known for taking care of its own, and Tory is grateful for all who have donated and helped out her family in every way since she went into the hospital in May.