My name is Emma Bailey, I’m 20 years old and attend Meredith College in Raleigh, North Carolina. On May 25, 2018, my life changed forever. It was two weeks until my high school graduation and I was having fun with my friends at our senior picnic. After the picnic, I hopped in my black Jeep Liberty and headed home. On the way home, I overcorrected, flipped, and hit a light pole. The accident left me a C6-C7 quadriplegic, in other words, paralyzed from the chest down. I remember when I heard the doctor tell me I was paralyzed. My family instantly started crying, but I remember feeling peace. I felt the presence of God telling me that I was going to be okay and that His plans were still good. I told my parents that “God’s got this” and it kind of became our motto. Instantly, my school and community started bake sales, fundraisers, and selling t-shirts with “God’s Got This” and “Stand4Emma” on them to support me and my family. Hundreds of cards were sent to me and I couldn’t even tell you how many visitors I had. I’ve never felt more love! The nurses at the hospital I was in were so amazing. They formulated a plan that allowed me to attend graduation with my classmates, despite the fact I had been in a traumatic car accident two weeks prior! Yes, I was pushed across the stage on a stretcher to receive my diploma! Even better, I was able to be pushed by the paramedic who arrived at my accident. Our families became close and we still talk to this day. My high school graduation was just one of the many ways God has shown me that He is still good.
Road to recovery
I was in the hospital until September 2018. While my friends were continuing their education and going to college, I was hard at work doing outpatient physical and occupational therapy. I was disappointed that I’d have to take a gap year before starting at Meredith, but I knew I had to get stronger first. Once again, God provided. In February 2019 I gained enough upper body strength to transition from a motorized wheelchair to a much smaller, manual wheelchair! This was a goal of mine from the beginning and the transition gave me SO much more independence. In April 2019 I began visiting Meredith and talking to the staff about the logistics of me transitioning to college. In the summer of 2019, I continued physical and occupational therapy at the hospital as well as a recovery center called, Next Step. Finally, in August 2019, I was able to join my two suitemates at Meredith! I have now finished my first year of college and plan to major in marketing with a minor in graphic design. I am now in the process of moving into my first apartment with three amazing roommates! My goal now is to show other people who’ve experienced an SCI or some other traumatic accident that they can still live a full life. I never imagined my life being this way, but I wouldn’t change it because I wouldn’t have the opportunity to show how gracious and faithful God is.