Laura’s Story

Site created on February 21, 2021

On October 17, 2020 Laura had a catastrophic accident when her horse, Raffiki was beset by a case of temporary insanity.  Laura landed on her head and shoulder, and broke bones in her neck and back - specifically C2-3 and T4-5.  It was bad - but Laura had a bit of luck - friends Kimberly and Loui were close by, and Loui is trained as an EMT.  Laura could not breathe - Loui started chest compressions, ordered a Medevac helicopter and Kimberly helped get all the horses out of the field.  Laura was flown to St. Joseph's Hospital in Tampa where she was stabilized, and underwent spinal fusion surgery on October 27.  The spinal cord injuries left her paralyzed from the shoulders down, but luckily (she was wearing her helmet) she suffered no Traumatic Brain Injury, though she did have evidence of a concussion.  On Nov. 26, 2020 Laura was transferred from St. Joseph's to Post-Acute Medical Hospital in Sarasota. to begin her recovery.  Her family decided she had the best chance of rehabilitation at the Shepherd Center for Spinal Cord Injuries in Atlanta, and she was airlifted there on Feb. 4, 2021.   Her main challenge will be breathing (she is currently ventilator-dependent), and mastering assistive technology that will allow her to live a fulfilling life.
Laura is extremely grateful for the support of her family and friends who have been a constant source of support throughout her journey, and for the unknown prayer warriors who have heard her story and offered prayers.  "For by grace you have been saved through faith."

Her address for the next few months is:  Laura Cope, Room 528, Shepherd Center, 2020 Peachtree Rd. NW, Atlanta, GA  30309

Newest Update

Journal entry by Ann Mueller

Lots happened today.  Laura had 'seating clinic' this morning. Several experts converged with measuring tapes to come up with the perfect fit for Laura's power wheelchair.  There are all kinds of sexy options - tilt, elevation, adjustments galore - and of course, color!!  I was oohing and aahing over the beautiful accent colors - there was a crisp, clear aqua that I was lusting after.  But Laura chose solid black.  "Black goes with everything" she said.  Well, it's her wheelchair!  It will be ready within a few months - in the meantime she will get a loaner chair which will be picked up when the rep hand delivers her new chair to her home.
After the excitement of seating clinic Laura motored off to pizza and a movie in the auditorium with a group of patients.  The patient population is 80% male, and skews younger - so predictably they eschewed the rom-com in favor of a bank robber movie.  But Laura reported that the movie was interesting and it was fun to do something different.  
If that wasn't enough - the physical therapists helped Laura have a shower this afternoon, since the seating clinic pre-empted this morning's shower.  Shower day is always fun and runs very efficiently with 3 of us working with Laura - it's going to be interesting to see how we try to replicate that at home with reduced manpower!
And a bit of interesting news - it turns out that a mobility van is not immediately needed to get Laura home - Shepherd Center arranges with the insurance companies for appropriate transportation depending on the patient's needs.  Brian will eventually need a mobility van to transport Laura, but he can take his time to find the right one.  Yay for that!

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