For many 16-year-olds, obtaining a driver’s license is an achievement of freedom, but it will be something Samantha Beemer will never have.
The 18-year-old was involved in a car accident on Sept. 9, 2011 while driving to a high school football game. She was the passenger of the vehicle while the driver lost control and struck a tree on her side of the car. She was transported by helicopter through Life Flight to Mercy St. Vincent Hospital with injuries such as traumatic brain injury, facial fractures, fractured right clavicle, punctured right lung and much more.
“They had to bend my body and take me out of the driver’s side of the car,” Samantha said. “They didn’t think I was even alive when they arrived and they realized I was still breathing and tried to stabilize me.”
Samantha and her mother, Libby, gave a speech at Ziggython for Dance Marathon on Saturday. While on stage, Libby said every single person participating in the event is now apart of her and Samantha’s family.
All the love and support the family receives from Ziggython is what keeps us involved, Libby said.
After her accident, Samantha remained in a coma for two weeks until giving doctors a “thumbs up” signifying she was conscious. After a series of treatments, such as a craniotomy to relieve her brain swelling, the placement of a titanium plate on the side of her skull and heavy rehabilitation for physical and speech purposes, she felt like the hospital was “home.”
“The nurses there painted my nails and toenails even though they said they hated feet,” Samantha said. “We watched ‘Jersey Shore’ every Thursday. Mercy Children’s in Toledo was great and I loved their fish tank and having therapy dogs there was like having a piece of home.”
Samantha made a full recovery and returned back to Evergreen High School on Nov. 6, 2011 after her family was told many times she wouldn’t survive. Her mother Libby said according to the doctor, Samantha’s recovery could be compared to if someone were to win the power ball 10 times in a row and that she was “definitely a miracle child.”
Although Samantha can’t remember much of the accident, her mother remembers all of it. Libby spent much of her time educating herself about the science and the terms doctors would try explaining in order to gain a better understanding of Samantha’s case and to reassure herself about the truth.
“The more you can learn, the better off you’re going to be,” Libby said. “I didn’t let the fear they were telling me overpower me.”
It’s because of miracle stories like the Beemer family that keeps Erika Zalecky, family relations chair for Dance Marathon, wanting to be involved.
“This is my fourth year being involved with Dance Marathon and this has been my favorite year so far,” Zalecky said. “This is what led me to my passion and is what I want to do with my career.”
After a life-changing accident and recovery, Samantha is graduating in May and plans to attend the University to major in public relations. She also plans to remain active in the Children’s Miracle Network.
“I had a feeding tube that was beyond irritating,” Samantha said. “I just had to push myself and work hard to get the strength to eat solid food and get up. It was the little things that pushed me to get motivated.”