MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WKRN) — After a swimming accident last summer, doctors told 7-year-old Sarah Faulkner they’ve never seen anyone with her injuries walk again, but she’s determined to prove them wrong while smiling throughout the journey.
“I’m perfectly fine. I’m not hurt. I’m like…just happy,” said Sarah, almost eight months into her recovery.
Swimming at Loretta Lynn’s ranch, Sarah’s parents said a teenage girl jumped 30 feet into the water and landed on Sarah’s back. Sarah was taken by helicopter to Vanderbilt University Medical Center, which ended up being the first of six hospitals she would stay in over the past year.
“The spinal cord was smashed and bent and stretched, and so she immediately lost feeling from her chest down,” said Sarah’s dad, Tre Faulkner.
Tre remembers opening the door to the ambulance after the accident and hearing one of the first things his daughter asked him.
“She looked up at me and she said, ‘Daddy, am I gonna die?'” he recalled.
Sarah’s mom, Kristin, was sitting by her daughter as she was being taken to the hospital and remembers what the paramedics said to calm her down.
“I had to be strong for Sarah,” Kristin said.
However, Sarah has plenty of strength on her own. The Faulkners said Sarah has only ever cried from the pain of surgery, but never complains or moans about not being able to walk or run around like she was able to over a year ago.
Sarah recently has regained some feelings in her back, stomach, and occasionally her hips and toes. Being people of strong faith, the Faulkners believe that God will heal Sarah and have used these difficult months to teach her and remind themselves of the power of gratitude.
They also are trying to lift up other people going through hard times by sharing their own experiences and the positivity Sarah has brought to the countless hours of therapy and many nights spent in a hospital.
If you want to help the Faulkners with hospital bills or bills related to making their home more conducive to Sarah’s wheelchair, they have a GoFundMe where they have also been sharing updates on her journey.