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Determination

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Friend, fellow runner making huge strides after being injured in head-on collision with drunk driver

By Stevie Lowery

De•ter•mi•na•tion (n): firm or fixed intention to achieve a desired end.

 

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary's definition of "determination" is not a very good one, in my opinion.

I'd like to write my own definition(s), if I may.

Determination: A natural instinct to push oneself further, even if it's painful.

Determination: The spirit of making something seemingly impossible, possible.

Determination: Having the inner strength to persevere, no matter how difficult.

Determination: Refusing to quit until you reach the finish line.

And, if I may, I'd like to include an image to accompany my definitions.

That image would be of my friend, Sarah Beyer, with her marathon medals hanging around her neck and a bright smile beaming across her beautiful face.

Sarah defines the word "determination."

Anyone that knows her would agree.

If you recall, I wrote about Sarah last month after she, along with her brother and two friends, were hit head-on by a drunk driver in Louisville on May 5, Derby day. While everyone in the car was injured, Sarah received the most severe injuries.

When her father, Farrell, arrived at the Emergency Room at University Hospital in Louisville that evening, he said the scene looked like something out of a Grey's Anatomy episode. First, he found his son, David, lying on a gurney, bruised and bloody, but not seriously injured. He had been riding in the front seat and was able to get out of the vehicle, only to find his sister lying across the back seat bleeding profusely, unconscious and gasping for breath.

As a result of her severe injuries, Sarah was in the Intensive Care Unit at University Hospital. She was unconscious, had a gash on her head, broken ribs, a collapsed lung, a head injury and was on a ventilator. She was surrounded by doctors, nurses and lots of machines, according to her dad.

"I found it hard to believe that my daughter of 33 years, who had always responded to her Dad's voice, could not do so tonight," Farrell said.

It was a parent's worse nightmare.

And while Sarah couldn't respond to her father with words, her inner strength and sheer determination were working overtime. Within two days of the accident, she was breathing on her own, talking, answering questions and giving orders. And, on May 10, five days after the accident, she was walking with the assistance of hospital personnel.

"What we have here is a walkin', talkin' miracle," Farrell said on his Facebook page that day.

On May 14, Sarah was transferred to Frazier Rehab Institute. She's received hours and hours of therapy each day. And, according to her brother, David, she has made him look like a wimp.

"While my injuries pale in comparison to her nine fractured ribs among other things, she still makes me look like a wimp when she gets out of bed faster than I can," David said. "She is in a tremendous amount of pain but powers through it like a champ."

Sarah, who is a marathoner, is accustomed to hard, sometimes painful, work. Runners who have accomplished a grueling 26.2-mile race can attest that it's painful. Her brother compared her recovery to a marathon.

"If you put it into terms of a marathoner she has come the first 20 miles," he said. "However, as she has always told me, the last 6.2 can be the longest and hardest, but the important thing is she finish."

Well, folks, she's getting closer to the finish line.

Wednesday, Sarah was released from Frazier Rehab and went home!

My twin sister visited her the day before she was released. She said she's the same spunky Sarah we have come to know and love. In fact, because of her spunkiness her doctors have given her a can-do list and a can't-do list that she is supposed to abide by while recovering at home. She's still very fragile, and her body continues to recover from the trauma it experienced during the wreck.

But, my sister said Sarah was "pumped" to be going home to her constant companion, Belle. Belle is a Shih Tzu, who, as Sarah's dad says, doesn't know she's a dog. I can only imagine how awesome Sarah and Belle's reunion was last week. I'm sure she was covered in sweet doggie kisses.

After hearing such positive news about Sarah Tuesday of last week, I fell asleep thinking about her and feeling so very thankful for her continued recovery. I woke up at 4 a.m., the next morning dripping in sweat and I was starving. I had been dreaming about running with Sarah. Some of you might remember that I made a promise to Sarah that when she recovers I will run a marathon with her. She's been trying to convince me to run one with her for a while now, and I've been too scared to commit.

But, the stakes are much different now.

And I plan to keep my promise.

Like Sarah, I, too, am determined.

And I know that Sarah is more determined than ever. On Thursday, one day after returning home, her dad said she walked four miles!

There is no doubt in my mind that Sarah has many more marathons ahead of her, and I look forward to crossing the finish line with her some day.

But, something tells me she'll beat me to it.

Editor's note: The drunk driver who caused the head-on collision literally walked away from the wreck unscathed. Last time I checked, he was still in jail, being held on a $75,000 cash bond. He's being charged with DUI and assault.