Hometown: Lethbridge, AB
Shanda Lutz, a 20-year-old Lethbridge College student, had just started her final year of Youth and Family Counselling studies and was looking forward to graduation and the start of her career.
On a sunny day in October 2004, she joined three friends for a road trip to Calgary to pick up a friend from the airport.
On the highway near Nanton, the car went off the road and rolled several times, finally rolling off a bridge. Shanda was not wearing a seatbelt and was thrown from the vehicle. Her friends were unhurt and rushed to her aid. A passing motorist, an off-duty paramedic, recognized the severity of her injuries and called for STARS.
STARS transported Shanda to Foothills Medical Centre where physicians determined she had two fractured vertebrae in her neck, a severe brain injury and a fractured right femur. Emergency surgery was performed to repair her broken thigh and she was admitted to the Intensive Care Unit for a week while the swelling of her brain was brought under control.
Shanda spent three months in hospital recovering and another two years as an outpatient taking rehabilitation therapy. She later returned to college and was able to graduate with her counselling diploma.
Today she is fully recovered and enjoys her career counselling troubled teenagers and young adults.