Keith Jones hasn't left his girlfriend's side from her hospital bed since Monday.
Jones, a news anchor for NBC10 in Philadelphia, pleaded for the public's prayers for Cara McCollum, Miss New Jersey 2013 and a current South Jersey television anchor. McCollum was seriously injured in a car crash on Route 55 on Monday night.
"I haven't left her bedside since she arrived at the hospital," Jones said in a Facebook post Thursday. "This wonderful, young, vibrant, brilliant woman is so strong. She deserves the world and so much more."
Jones posted a photo album of the pair in various settings. "My whole world. My support. My heart." read one caption. Another -- "We're capable of anything together. We're an unbeatable team." -- accompanied a photo of them both with race finishers' medals.
But for now, Jones said McCollum deserves prayers.
A Facebook page called "Prayers for Cara" started up Thursday, and already garnered more than 1,600 likes by 4:45 p.m.
"Cara needs your prayers NOW. She is in critical condition at a Level 1 Trauma Center in New Jersey, and the situation couldn’t be more serious," read one post Thursday. "Cara is a strong, determined young woman, but her life is in God’s hands right now."
McCollum, of Margate, was not wearing her seat belt when her 2014 Ford Mustang spun off the right side of road as she headed north on Route 55 in Salem County just before 7 p.m., State Police said.
The car struck a tree, then spun around and hit two more trees before coming to a rest at the bottom of the embankment near mile marker 38.4.
Police said speed and wet roads were a factor in the accident. The driver's side airbag deployed.
She was transported to Cooper Health Systems, where she was listed in critical condition, State Police said. The accident was under investigation Tuesday. No summonses had been issued.
Representatives from Cooper University Medical Center said Wednesday McCollum’s family requested no further public updates on McCollum’s condition.
McCollum won the 2013 Miss New Jersey pageant and is an anchor on SNJ Today, a news broadcast serving the South Jersey area. She attended Princeton University and is originally from Arkansas.
Despite her Ivy League and pageant background, McCollum is down to Earth and always willing to jump in to new challenges, said Mike Frankel, who covers sports and news for the station.
Whether grabbing a camera to get footage to doing an interview, "she's always up for it," he said of McCollum's first TV job.
"Sometimes you have that clichéd idea going to Princeton and being Miss New Jersey, but she goes against the mold," he said.
Her co-workers joined early Tuesday in a prayer circle and gave positive thoughts to their injured anchor. Some went to visit her at the hospital, including the news director, who stayed overnight, Frankel said.
McCollum's boyfriend, NBC10 reporter Keith Jones, was by her side, Frankel said.
"It’s tough," Frankel said. "Nobody has a lot of answers right now. We're just trying to remain positive."
The newscast will go on, but there is no question who SNJ's anchor still is, he said.
"We're keeping the seat warm for her," Frankel said. "It's absolutely hers when she’s ready to come back."
Friends, pageant companions and newsmakers took to social media with well wishes and prayers for McCollum, hoping for a speedy recovery.
On Tuesday night, current Miss New Jersey Lindsey Giannini released a statement in response to hearing about McCollum’s condition.
“I could not hold back tears after hearing about the severity of Miss New Jersey 2013 Cara McCollum’s accident and condition, Giannini said. “My heart aches for Cara, her family and the Miss New Jersey family. She is a dear friend and has a heart of gold. I am praying hard for a speedy and full recovery for her!”
If you got a couple of seconds to spare, please lift a prayer up for one my classmates Cara McCollum https://t.co/Pe3g5IEv7a— Caraun Reid (@ChopReid) February 16, 2016