When Angie Schill walks with her family and dog on the path behind her home, she often marvels at both the beauty around her and the fact that she’s able to walk at all.
When she was lying on a ski patrol stretcher at the base of Copper Mountain Resort waiting for a helicopter to whisk her away, she clearly heard the medics talking with each other about her injury. She had lost control and slid back-first into a lift tower. It was bad, they said. She would never walk again.
Six weeks later, she walked out of Craig Hospital using crutches and walker.
“When I was first injured, I don’t remember anyone around me having a very positive outlook,” she says. “I was told to not get my hopes up because I never knew what was going to happen.”
Angie and her husband Ryan knew that Craig would give them the best chance of proving them wrong. She arrived at Craig on Christmas Eve 2014.
The hospital was pretty quiet that day, she remembers. Volunteers delivered a stocking and a homemade blanket. The president of her company visited, bearing a mini Christmas tree. Her nurses helped her sit up in a wheelchair. “I remember it being very special," she says. “It was just Ryan and me, and it was good to have this time of quiet reflection and gratitude together.”
The quiet didn’t last for long. Soon Angie was up and busy with therapies. “Rehab was very hard,” she says. “I’ve never worked out as hard as I did there.”
While the “unbelievable” rehabilitation technology, like zero-gravity treadmills, was important in her recovery, she says that it was the therapists who made the difference. “I was always being pushed, and it was always positive. They treated each patient based on their individual needs and never used a canned therapy plan.”
Angie was able to return home to Minnesota and was greeted at the airport by friends and family. She only has a few small deficits that remind her of her spinal cord injury journey.
“There’s no doubt in my mind that I am where I am because of Craig.”
Four or five months after her discharge, she found out she was pregnant. She’s now the busy mom to three-and-a-half-year-old Jackson and one-year-old Nora. She works full time as a project manager doing software implementation for large financial institutions. She’s also a part-time photographer, capturing the world around her through a lens of thankfulness.
And she loves to take those walks.
Cover Image: Sunrise on the Bike Path, photo by Craig graduate Angie Schill, © Angela Kay Photography.