Danielle’s Story

Welcome to Danielle's website. Danielle and our family appreciate your visit! Please send us a message, we read every one, and count them among our many blessings!

Life can change in an instant...

July 11th, 2010 was a perfect day, Danielle, her sisters; Taylor & Rachel and I (mom, Lynell) cantered the 8:30 mass at Blessed Sacrament. Jeff (Danielle's Dad) was in the choir loft with us, and Danielle went to the front of the church, I remember my pride as she gracefully approached the alter, and my worry, there had been a mistake in the assigning of the responsorial psalm and Alleluia we had been practicing, and we came into church a half an hour early to learn a new one at the last minute. I remember praying Danielle would do well. The music started, Danielle took a confident breath and sang beautifully, there was a bobble in the organ music, but she continued without error. I wanted to cheer and clap, but refrained, but anyone who turned around would have been blinded by my smile. Next I sang the Alleluia, and the girls and I all silently high-fived one another and hugged, we had gotten through the most difficult parts. We were using our God given talents to worship Him in His house, for His followers, it felt good! We got home and started to prepare a meal, Fr. Hoelfer and Jeff's sister, her husband, and children would be joining us for chicken on the grill. Everyone arrived and we enjoyed a wonderful meal, at the end of the meal Danielle, cousin Riley, and sisters - Taylor and Rachel gathered around the piano and sang a song for Fr. Hoefler that they had written themselves, "What do you see?". Each girl had written a verse telling us what they see when asked, where is your home? It was wonderful. Again tearful pride and smiles burst from me. These girls are truly exceptional. We as parents are doing a good job, talented, well educated, well rounded young women, life is good. Soon after this it was time to go to Jeff's cousins to celebrate his (cousins) birthday at the lake house. There was swimming, and food, and laughter, a beautiful, perfect day... the lake had calmed down and although previous to getting there we had told the girls, "no jet skis, don't even ask, the lake will be too busy" the question was asked, by someone else. The lake was calm, very little traffic, but we were visiting, and had said, no. Danielle's then 18 year old cousin said he would take Riley and Danielle for a ride. Danielle was up on the deck with Jeff's sister and I, reading a book, typical Danielle. (I am smiling as I remember). "Mom, do you think I should go on the jet ski?" "well, your cousins will be leaving soon to go back to Australia, go make some memories", I responded. And so she put her favorite bookmark in her book, and skipped down the back hill to put on her life jacket, and I watched her ride away on the back of the jet ski. 10 minutes later, a second jet ski left the dock with Danielle's uncle, cousin and sister Taylor on board. As that 2nd jet ski left, we had no idea the fun, memory making leisurely ride dynamic would change to one of, 2 jet skis and a near deadly collision. Danielle's bookmark is still marking the last page she read. Do we blame ourselves, should we have explained the perimeters we expected to be followed? What could we have done to avoid the outcome? Many, many decisions and actions could have changed the outcome of July 11th, from one extreme to the other, there could not have been an accident at all, or, the accident could have been fatal. Danielle's Uncle and 18 year old cousin acted as hero's in the moments that followed, assessing the situation, realizing Danielle's needs were critical, giving her mouth to mouth, CPR and getting her to the dock as quickly as possible to receive immediate medical attention. The moments that followed Danielle's lifeless body being hoisted onto the dock will forever be engrained in my memory. I still have not asked details of what actually happened at the accident site from my family members, I don't want to ask them to re-live it, and it will not change the outcome. None of our lives will ever, ever be the same. I offer these facts not for judgment, but in the hope that you may encompass our entire family, all involved, in your prayers. We have not placed blame, but have offered forgiveness, in case the people we love blame themselves... Danielle sustained a Traumatic Brain Injury, her recovery is slow, and challenging, we have faith in God's plan for us all, and we ask that if it is His Will, Danielle be Miraculously and completely Healed in the name of Jesus and for the Glory of God.

Please be part of a Miracle, Pray for Danielle. ~Lynell.

Latest Journal Update

TOOOO long since my last update...

I have written a post in my head at least hundred times... finally I am sitting down to write one! I am so sorry for the delay... I have no excuses that are worthy, but I am sorry. I know that your prayers have continued for Danielle and our family because we can feel them, keeping us strong, lifting us up. THANK YOU.

I initially thought that not much has changed, and it hasn't but I do have quite a bit to catch you up on. There have not been any significant changes in Danielle's healing, but we have made some changes, and found some "solutions" to some worries. Jeff and I made the decision to take a break from the International Brain Research Foundation, IBRF, New Jersey Team of Doctors. We wanted to re-evaluate the current results, and dollars spent. We decided that although we did see progress, that progress happened in the beginning of the program, and we saw little change as we continued the protocol. As of November 1st we stopped the daily Skype sessions of neuro-feedback and started to wean Danielle from the nutraceuticals from IBRF. I am happy to report we did not see a decline in Danielle's alertness or functions, and we feel we made a good decision. Quite honestly, she seems MORE ALERT and more present when we are talking to her, with better eye contact and more vocalizations. We are still in contact with Dr. Brody from Wash U in St. Louis, via email and Danielle has a 2nd appointment with him in March. 

Remember how I was concerned about Danielle's dramatic hair loss... and Dr. Albrecht suggested bloodwork and discovered Danielle had very low iron? We tried supplements, but they made her sick EVERYTIME we gave them to her... well, we took the advice from someone who posted, and Danielle received an iron infusion via IV, it has worked like a charm. Danielle's hair has STOPPED falling out and although I can't tell if new hair is coming in, (I was told it will take a couple months) I feel confident it will happen.

Last week Danielle went in for her 3 month Botox injection appointment, we had the majority of the Botox injected into her left arm, and the remaining into her right arm. Danielle always pulls her left arm up and in toward her chest, with her wrist bent. This also changes her body position as she tucks her right elbow in beneath her ribs and drops her shoulder, which causes her spine to curve to the left. I wonder how many of you are now trying to put yourself in the position I just described? :0) Danielle holds this position constantly and her muscles are pulling her spine into a curved position. We try to adjust her position with wedges, towels, foam blocks, etc... but it doesn't do much good. We thought if we can try to relax her arm and pectoral muscles at the source it could help stop the "domino-effect" to her curving spine. We might be onto something... I don't want to get too excited, but the Botox injections seem to be helping! Her arms are more relaxed and we are able to stretch her more easily, hopefully we will see some positive effects throughout her entire body. YAY!

Today as Danielle was relaxing on her therapy mat, which has brand new custom made wedge covers, (Thank You Aunt Jeanne, YOU ARE AWESOME!) Danielle was vocalizing and making the sweetest sounds, of course she chooses to do this when her Speech Therapist is NOT here, sorry Jessica... but I've got proof. I grabbed my phone and started to record, of course that is about the time Danielle started to get quiet, but I did manage to coax a little more out her. I am hoping to attach the video... if for some reason it doesn't appear I put it on the Pray for Danielle Facebook page too! Please keep praying for Danielle, pray that these sweet sounds will soon turn into words. ~Lynell


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Comments

23 Comments

Karen Ferguson
By K Ferguson
Prayers continued for you and all that wonderful family of yours. You are inspiring to all who have been following along on your journey. Much love and thanks for the update !!!!
Kevin Collings
By Kevin Collings
Praying for Danielle and the family daily!
Terri Bottoms
By Terri B.
I have driven past your signs for what seems forever and I smile each time glad to see they are still up, you are strong and brave, such a pretty young lady and so blessed to have such a caring and loving family.
Alesha Gamble
By Alesha Gamble
God Bless!!! I love her beautiful smile and I can definitely hear her responding!!! Amen XOXO
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Jeanne Eide
By JEANNE
It is so good to see her responding to you. And what a lovely smile. She has her awesome family to thank for her continued recovery. Will keep all you in our thoughts and prayers as always. Love to all of you.
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Terri Stanton
By Terri Stanton
Yay! so glad to hear how our girl's doing! Joseph curves the exact SAME way! He doesn't on the days he's not posturing though. It's only on days that he's running high heart rates and posturing....which is unfortunately a lot of the time. May God continue to bless our children with His complete healing!

Hugs from Houston,
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Myra Hoffman
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Thank you so much for sharing, Lynell. The video of Danielle is wonderful. You see her everyday, but for all of us this appears to be a GIANT step forward. She's alert, focused, and her vocalizations are definitely communication in my book. You are all doing an outstanding job with her care, God gave her the right parents.
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Susan Eby
By Susan Eby
Thank you so much for sharing the video & the journey. Danielle sounds wonderful & looks so happy. Prayers continue.
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Linda Morrison
By Linda m
Oh my gosh what a difference! She seems so much more present and alert! How wonderful to see! Thanks for the updates.
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Josette Harrison
By Josette
Thank you for the updates. Continued healing and God Bless!
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