Survivor stories


At the age of 23 Sarah was a vibrant young lady who loved spending time with her friends, listening to Josh Groban, and was interested in starting university in the near future.

On January 25th, 2003 her life’s endeavours took an unexpected halt. On that sunny day she was on her way to a cottage in Kawartha Lakes with her boyfriend Adam, her older sister Lisa and Lisa’s boyfriend Darryl. Before they knew it, they were in a serious car crash when an elderly couple crossed the centre line and hit their vehicle head-on.

Unfortunately, although Sarah was wearing her seatbelt, it was not working properly. The slack in the seatbelt caused it to wrap around the handle and unravel during the impact from the other vehicle. The collision sent Sarah into the windshield without the protection offered by a seatbelt. Sarah’s initial injuries included a bleed in brain as a result of her head hitting the windshield, a torn liver from the seat belt and her lungs collapsed.

Lisa, Sarah’s sister, was transported to Sunnybrook with broken ribs, punctured lungs and a suspected fracture of her cervical spine. Darryl was transported to St. Mikes Hospital with major fractures to his leg, a lacerated ear and major laceration to his head. Adam, the driver, walked away with no injuries.

Sarah was taken to Sunnybrook Hospital by air ambulance where she lay in a coma for 6 weeks with little chance of survival. Sarah beat the odds and woke from the coma which was followed by 16 surgeries, countless hours of speech and cognitive rehabilitation, and ongoing physical therapy. After 3 months at Sunnybrook she was transferred to a rehabilitation facility to re-learn the basic tasks of everyday living. However, due to the SARS outbreak Sarah returned home to continue to rehabilitation with the continuous support of her family.

Sarah’s long term injuries include being legally blind, not being able to taste or smell, and long term cognitive and memory losses. However, Sarah is now 29 years old and recent graduate as a Registered Holistic Nutritionist.

Sarah and her parents are motivational speakers for the P.A.R.T.Y. Program and volunteers her time to support other families living with traumatic injuries.