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Road to Healing: The Miracle Survival of Dana Anderson

As told by Michigan Park member, Dana R. Anderson

On October 18, 2016, my life was changed forever. While driving on 495 to spend the day at the National African American History Museum with my parents, Darnell and Wendy Anderson, I was hit by a speeding, distracted driver. The multiple hits and impacts of the accident caused my car to land sideways on top of another car, the guardrail penetrated the driver’s side door and went into my hip. As my car was repeatedly hit, my mind tried to figure out what was happening. As I tried to wrap my head around what was going on, I felt an enormous sense of peace overcome me. When my car finally came to a stop, I opened my eyes and heard a man’s voice yelling “Is she alive? Is she alive?”

He came to the window and repeated the question. I looked over at him, trying to figure out why he would ask such a question and the only word that could escape my mouth was “Jesus.” I repeatedly called on the name of “Jesus” and told this man that I was alive. His eyes welled, and he began to cry. Over the next hour, my parents, ambulance and emergency services were called. Witnesses came and prayed, police officers asked questions and firefighters struggled to cut me out of the car. During this time, I felt enormous pain but never worry. After being taken to the hospital, doctors explained to both me and my family the severity of the accident as I was told that I would need surgery, long term care, and both occupational and physical therapy.

I began to grapple with the severity of what happened to me. As I tried, unsuccessfully, to move my limbs, I began to understand that life as I knew it was forever changed. My pelvis was shattered and endured three major breaks, my hips were dislocated, and every muscle in my body was ripped and torn. At that moment, my doctors, told me that I would need to learn to walk again and that I would be out of work for at least a year, if I was able to return. As I tried to understand these words, I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. I lifted my head and it moved. I wiggled my toes and they moved. I lifted my arms and they were heavy but moved. Then I went to lift my legs and was unable to do so. I tried to sit up and was unable to do so. I knew that I was in trouble. I knew that I would have to work and I knew that it would not be easy. I prayed, not that I would be able to regain movement, but that I would be able to accept whatever it was that God would allow. I asked that God simply give me the strength to endure and not to let my faith waiver. I prayed that God would give me peace and rest. In that moment, I knew that God chose me for this battle and he did so because he knew that I could handle it. I knew that I would have to work harder than I ever had to get everything that I wanted.

Over the next year, I worked for every single minute of my life. I endured, surgery, hospitalization, in and outpatient rehab and constant pain. I had to learn how to sit up, stand up, walk, pick up things off the floor, use the bathroom, get in and out of the bed, carry a purse and live my life. I was confined to a wheelchair and had to learn to use walking apparatuses to complete daily tasks. I endured, not because I am strong. But because I have faith. I told myself that this was my “Job season” and that I had to believe in his works and in his word. I kept reminding myself that God took his hand off of Job but he never left his side. And that if he would do it for Job, then he surely would do it for me, too. When days got hard and the pain was too much to bear, I reminded myself that the word says “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” I learned to do as the word says and “boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” I learned to not be ashamed of my new disability. For it is through this disability that God has the ability to shine through me. Others began to see the power of God working through me. Those who I freely told about the grace of God got to witness the wondrous works of God. They got to see faith in action.

I would never tell you that everyday has been easy or that I never had hard days. These days have been the hardest of my life. But I have found comfort in knowing that God has a plan for my life and that this was a part of the plan. I have heard God whisper on too many occasions, “For I know the plans that I have for you… plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” God has never left my side. He never let me fall. Throughout this entire time, I never missed a paycheck. I was never late with a bill. I began using a walker after three months. I returned to my home and began living independently after five months. I returned to work seven month later. And I returned to my community service activities one year later. Everyday, I rest on my faith and belief in knowing that God chose me for a battle that I would not want anyone else to endure. And he chose me because he believes in me. It is through those thoughts that it has been my honor to take up the armor of God and fight this battle. So whatever you are going through in life, know, that God has a plan for this pain and a plan for you. This battle is yours because you will have to one day help someone else hold on to faith and endure.

I can’t tell you how many of my friends learned to stop complaining by witnessing me never complain. I can’t tell you how many people have drawn closer to God through their prayers and conversations with me. This battle was given to me to show others how to win and endure their own personal wars. God chooses his people wisely. I didn’t know that I was this strong. I didn’t know that I had the ability to endure and I remain excited to see where this journey takes me.

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