This young lady is my niece, Stephanie Smith. On July 13, 2014, the weekend of the Super Moon, Stephanie and her fiancé, Kevin Bachert, traveled to KC from their hometown of Reading, KS. They were excited to get away from daily life and enjoy the KC Royals/Detroit Tigers baseball game and a relaxing night in a hotel. After the game, back at the hotel, Stephanie tragically fell from a fifth floor balcony.
Below, a selfie taken at the baseball game that night.
For nearly two weeks, Stephanie lay in a medically-induced coma at a trauma hospital where she underwent four separate surgeries. She sustained multiple fractures — both arms, both legs, ribs, and her back. She also had internal bleeding and a punctured lung. Now at a long-term acute care hospital, she has a long road to recovery.
Still, Stephanie is as feisty as ever. Immediately upon awakening from the coma, she tried to communicate she wanted to be cut loose by making a scissor motion with her fingers and pointing at the ventilator. Her alert and strong spirit impresses her doctors and hospital staff.
On my first visit to see her after she awoke from the coma, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I was unprepared for her joyful spirit and optimistic attitude. She told me, “Like my dad said, ‘This was life-altering instead of life-ending.’ So, yes, I’m grateful to be alive.”
Both Stephanie and Kevin are licensed electricians who own a home in Reading, Kansas. Her daughter, Julie, also lives in Reading and is attending classes at Emporia State University
Since the accident, Kevin refuses to leave her side. While she was in a coma, he kept notes because he didn’t want to forget anything and knew Steph would want to know the details. Now he is her helper, her supporter and her emotional strength. Their hopes are to find a way that Kevin can stay with her longer. Financial responsibilities are mounting, though, so they’re not sure how long that will be.
Although her future is uncertain, she’s already making plans, asking, “What is going to happen next? What is the next step?”
She says, “If I can’t walk and be an electrician again, I can take the OSHA 30 class and become an electrical safety teacher. I can teach from a wheelchair.” Stephanie’s optimism is inspiring – and this young couple needs your help. Your support is deeply appreciated.
To stay updated on Steph’s recovery progress, visit the Facebook page: Steph's Steps to Recovery.
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