It’s not every day that someone can say they’ve experienced something miraculous, but Rachel Foster and her family can, and their story is beyond inspirational! Rachel is an executive chef for Moni’s Pasta and Pizza in Edmond, Oklahoma. She owns the restaurant with her husband, John Hawkins, who was with her last November when she suffered a traumatic brain injury while riding an electric scooter.
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A colleague described Rachel as, “A leader, fighter, friend, lover, winning marathon runner, and role model.”
After falling from the scooter and hitting her head on November 9, Rachel was rushed to the trauma ICU at Oklahoma University Medical Center in Oklahoma City. Doctors determined she had suffered a traumatic brain injury (TBI) and 17 broken bones. She was placed on life support, but her prognosis was grim: she might never breathe on her own again. They weren’t sure she’d ever regain consciousness.
Rachel was in a coma for the next 10 days. John faced the impossible decision of whether to remove life support and donate her organs, or hang on and hope she’d come back to him. Twenty-four hours before they planned to remove her breathing tube, Rachel opened her eyes.
“Her medical care was amazing, but this was 100% a miracle,”John said.
From the moment she regained consciousness, Rachel was determined to recover. She lived in excruciating pain for weeks before undergoing surgery to remove a piece of her skull and replace it with a 3D-printed cap. Then, she began a grueling rehabilitation routine to gain strength and relearn how to walk. She didn’t get back on her own two feet until January 22, and once she did, she set her sights higher than just a stroll around the block.
“In the back of my head, it was always, ‘Boston is coming up, Boston is coming up,'” Rachel recalled.
An experienced marathon runner, Rachel planned to tackle Boston’s notorious course for the second time with her running partner, Tim Altendorf. Those dreams seemed dashed after the accident, but as she recovered, she began to focus her efforts on that singular goal.
Six months after her near-fatal accident, Rachel accomplished her mission! She and Tim ran (and finished!) the Boston Marathon, taking another huge step towards a recovery those closest to her insist was a miracle.
“It really was a miracle,” Rachel said. “I should not be alive right now and I definitely should not be running marathons.”
“She did great for somebody who probably shouldn’t have been out there,” Tim agreed. “But her determination and her resolve, I don’t know anybody like Rachel. I really don’t.”
Rachel refused to give up on her goal, using it to spur on her own recovery in a very big way. She’s got the heart of a true fighter, and we wish her the best as she continues her recovery journey.
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