Meet LeAnne! She's a midwest gal with a story that keeps unfolding. Her husband's motorcycle accident has been changing the way she sees life and is constantly encouraged by his strength. Read more about her story and how her blog started as a way to update renovations on her house to giving updates on her husband's recovery process. Thanks for sharing your story!
FOR OUR READERS WHO ARE NOT FAMILIAR WITH YOUR STORY, COULD YOU GIVE A BRIEF SUMMARY?
My story is fairly simple with a twist right at the end.
I grew up in the country with a wonderful set of parents and 2 brothers. After high school, I headed off to college and studied Marketing. Once I graduated, I got a job as a college recruiter and lived in a cramped 1 bedroom apartment with 4 girls.
Halfway through the summer, I met this good looking boy through mutual friends. He was charming, funny, handsome, had a great work ethic and even better morals. We started dating and just never stopped. After a really fun 3 years together, we got married at my parent’s home with a private family wedding, BBQ, and perfect weather.
A few months into our marriage, we bought a property and ended up turning the unattached garage into a tiny home. After moving in, we affectionately named our little place “Bunker”. We continued to renovate the property with plans to eventually restore the main house, Longshot.
On the early morning of June 15th, everything changed. Around 6am, Derek got on his motorcycle to head downtown to tackle another day at the office. Although he had been driving a bike for years, I always made him text me when he got to work safely. Unfortunately, a text never came. At 7:13am, I received a call from a man named David who explained that Derek had been in a terrible accident and I needed to get downtown as soon as possible.
As I hustled around Bunker, I remember stopping at our bathroom mirror and specifically telling myself to calm down. I will never forget Derek's boss showing up at the Emergency Room to sit with me for the moment I was told of his injuries, and that he would be heading into emergency surgery. I was given the chance to see him before they wheeled him in and I remember choking back tears after seeing his face so battered. I remember the moment the neurosurgeon handed me Derek's helmet and a tooth fell out of the head mask. Although Derek had on a full faced helmet and all the gear, he still managed to break 7 bones, his spine, and collapsed his lung. The fact of him never walking again sunk into all of us during our 1 month ICU stay.
After being released from the ICU, I followed Derek’s ambulance to Chicago where he spent another 4 months as an inpatient at the Rehab Institute of Chicago. Derek has a T6 spinal cord injury, which means he is paralyzed and cannot feel anything from the armpits down. The accident is still a mystery but we are so thankful God spared his mind and has given us an amazing support system to help us through this time.
SO YOU ARE CURRENTLY WORKING FOR ‘MUDLOVE’ AND RUNNING THEIR FUNDRAISER MARKETPLACE. CAN YOU TELL US THE STORY BEHIND THAT AND HOW IT HAS BEEN WORKING FOR THEM?
First, if you haven’t heard of MudLOVE, Google them. Second, they are the best. In the middle of September (while we were smack in the middle of hospital life), they surprised us with a fundraising campaign. They created this new portion of their business called Fundraiser Marketplace, where they custom make mugs and bands to sell specifically for individuals and their fundraising needs. They designed the coolest products for us and the proceeds went to our medical expenses.
So, fast forward to December. I wasn’t able to keep my previous job and was hoping to find something that would be flexible with our crazy therapy schedule. MudLOVE contacted me and asked if I would be interested in running the Fundraiser Marketplace from home. I jumped at the opportunity and have loved the chance to help others the way MudLOVE helped us!
WHO/WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST INSPIRATION? WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST SOURCE OF POSITIVITY IN YOUR LIFE?
Here’s the thing. It can be easy to complain about our lives but the decisions we make, we make. I choose not to work out every day, so why get mad when I don’t look as dreamy as I would hope? You chose to marry that person, to live in that town, to accept that job, and be friends with your friends. We make choices every single day and those choices impact the present and future. If you want to complain about your life, complain to yourself because you are the one making those decisions. Obviously, there are some things we don’t get to choose, but we do get to choose our reaction. My goal is to always react the way that would be pleasing to the Lord and pleasing to my grandparents.
Although it may sound cliché, my biggest inspiration is my husband. Throughout the 7 years of knowing him, he has pushed through law school, endured the death of his father, and now lost the ability to feel 80% of his body. Through it all, I have never once heard him complain. He has continued to blow me away with his outlook on life and faith in God’s will.
WHAT ARE YOUR TOP FOUR PERSONALITY TRAITS AND WHY?
QUIRKY- My friends can speak on this better than I, but apparently I’m weird. I appreciate a good sound effect with any story and my go-to noises and phrases have been known to catch on with both toddlers and adults. My goal? Make all my friends equally strange.
FRIENDLY- I will force friendship on anyone, so watch out.
FUN LOVING- I have interpreted this to mean, the lover of fun, and that is exactly what I am. I am a huge fan of games, competitions, hosting parties, and getting as many people as possible to enjoy life.
LOYAL- Loyalty. This is a word I hope others would use to describe me. I’ve found there isn’t much to life without loyalty to family, friends, and God. I would also like to add that many people have praised me for staying next to Derek’s side. To care for him, love him, and do anything to help his recovery process. Although I do know these people have the kindest of intentions, I want to go on record saying that I have done nothing that many of you would not do if you found your loved one in the same situation. Yes, I am loyal but sticking by Derek’s side is not a sacrifice. It is a huge privilege to be a part of something so much bigger than the two of us.
IN TERMS OF YOUR FUN LOVING AND LOYAL PERSONALITY TRAITS—HOW DID THIS HELP YOU GET THROUGH SOME OF THE MORE DIFFICULT TIMES THROUGHOUT THE PROCESS OF YOUR HUSBAND’S RECOVERY?
Honestly, I feel like Derek and I were made for this. He is stoic, hard working, and a nose to the grind type of person. I am goofy, upbeat, and I love to see others happy. We’ve talked about how the combination of our personalities has somehow made this whole situation work.
Although we remain encouraged, we do have bad days as well. There have been a lot of tears, frustrations, and discouragement over the past year. Posting about being positive is fairly easy because usually by the time we are ready to blog, the tears have dried up. We want to be vulnerable with people but also recognize there are many out there that have been dealt a much more difficult hand.
HOW IS DEREK DOING CURRENTLY?
Derek is doing well! He started back to work last month. He also finished up with therapy sessions and is working on getting his driver's license. People will come up and ask him what happened, and his favorite comeback is, “I traded in my motorcycle for a wheelchair.” He has lost a lot of teeth, so we are currently working with the oral surgeons to get his smile back!
WHAT’S THE MOST IMPORTANT THING YOU’VE LEARNED SO FAR THROUGH YOUR EXPERIENCE? HOW HAS IT CHANGED YOUR OUTLOOK ON LIFE IN GENERAL/ OR WHAT HAS BEEN THE BIGGEST TAKEAWAY FROM YOUR EXPERIENCE?
There is this beautiful thing called marriage, and a messy thing called life. When those two collide, you can find yourself in some pretty unique, hilarious, confusing, wonderful, and also saddening situations. My husband chose his hobby, motorcycles. I chose mine, gardening. Although my hobby hasn’t injured me yet, being at RIC and hearing everyone's stories has made me never want to walk down stairs, stand on a dock, or drive at 6:20am on a quiet highway.
We have been challenged to live life fully, fearlessly, and with a greater appreciation of those around us. We are determined to not let this disability hold our marriage down but to look for ways to use this testimony to help others.
CHECK OUT MORE FROM LEANNE BELOW!
For the month of May we are donating 20% OF ALL OUR SALES referred by Leanne's story will go to another family in need like the Lavenders. When you purchase make sure to put Leanne, or Leanne's story in the referral box!