“My story could easily be that of the person who’s hit by you or someone you are a passenger with.”
The Car Accident
Elyse was a happy 11 year old when her life changed forever because of a car accident. On her way to school one day driving down the highway, an 18-year old driver had a stop sign at the intersection before heading onto the same highway. With the sun in his eyes, he slowed down at the stop sign but entered the highway without stopping completely resulting in a side impact on the passenger side of Elyse's car. Her head went through the front windshield and she lost consciousness. Her mother who was driving her car was unhurt and attempted to rescue Elyse but was unable to reach her because the door was smashed closed. LifeFlight helicopter arrived and rescued Elyse to take her to the hospital. Her brother was also in the car but died on impact.
Severe Traumatic Brain Injury
Elyse suffered from a severe traumatic brain injury. Within her first 24 hours in the hospital, she underwent two brain surgeries to attempt to save her life. She remained in a coma for two months following the accident. After awakening from the coma, Elyse experienced left hemiplegia where she was unable to use her left arm and leg. With intensive therapy, she has relearned many of the skills she lost including walking, dressing, reading and writing. She continues to get better every day.
Today, Elyse is a student at Portland Community College who is looking forward to graduation and all that life has to offer her. She has presented to many schools and hopes that other students can learn from the mistake of that teen driver and see the impact one poor decision had on her life and her family.