Lauren does not remember most of the two months she spent in the ICU.
She does remember when it all started: the night she thought she had the flu. The next morning she was in the emergency room, diagnosed with meningococcal septicemia and rushed into surgery. She was sixteen years old.
Lauren remembers some bits and pieces: not being able to move or speak and hearing voices around her as she lay in a hospital bed. The doctors talking about amputating her arms. Feeling thirsty. Unable to ask for water. Asking the nurse why she couldn't feel her knees and watching the nurse begin to cry.
“When I woke up I had lost my arms and legs,” remembered Lauren. As dark as a time as this was, Lauren said she felt the support of her loved ones to help her through. Eventually, without arms or legs, Lauren learned to walk again.
From the Beginning
Lauren’s diagnosis and amputations meant starting over—learning to walk, to move on her own, to getting back to the life she knew.
“When I got sick I was sixteen and was just starting to drive. I really missed it,” she said. “I missed the freedom of being able to drive.”
Strong-willed and fiercely independent, Lauren wished to renovate her car so that she could drive it with her prosthetic limbs. “To me, driving represents freedom,” she said.
There are many days that Lauren can’t remember, and many that she wishes she could forget—but the day she saw her newly-renovated car is not one of them.
“My favorite part was when I got to take home my car and I was driving it for the first time after the modifications,” she said. “I was excited to have the freedom and independence. I was excited just to drive.”
The Road to Tomorrow
Today, Lauren looks forward to the future. She plans to attend Boston University this fall. Her renovated car will go with her as she continues her journey moving forward, independent and free.
Special Thanks: Wish-granting volunteers Heidi Harvey and Jennifer Valente, Maggiano’s Little Italy, Alderwood Sephora, Bellevue Hyatt Hotel, Mark Russell and Absolute Mobility