With a category 4 tornado speeding towards her home in Southern Indiana, Stephanie Decker had a split second decision to make. Scrambling to rush her children to safety, her home began to fall apart around her.
“I grabbed a comforter, wrapped my two children in a blanket, told them I loved them and to GET DOWN. I fully expected to die, but, miraculously, we all survived”
Shielding her 2 young children with her body, Stephanie prevented bricks from hitting them while her own legs were crushed by a steel beam.
Her children were unharmed but Stephanie was left bleeding and helpless in the rubble pile. The children, 8 year old son Dominic, and 5 year old daughter Reese, ran to get help.
“With tremendous courage and the determination to survive, Stephanie prayed as she issued a heartfelt message to her children on her cell phone. This was not the end for her however, it was an incredible new beginning…” (www.stephaniedecker.com)
“I fought like had never fought before in my life. You see, I was, and am, an athlete and a lifetime of athletics taught me about perseverance and fighting through the pain to get what you are looking for. The pain of my injuries was excruciating to the point that I just wanted to go to sleep and make all the pain go away. But I didn’t. Instead of closing my eyes, I looked up at the sky and asked for help. I said, “If anyone is up there, I need you. I am close to the brink and I have so much to live for in my life. I know you are trying to tell me something I know there is a REAL purpose for my life. Just let me live and I will find out what that purpose is.” (Huffington Post)
This new beginning became the focus of Stephanie’s new life as a double amputee. With her generous and courageous spirit, she and her husband Joe created the Stephanie Decker Foundation at the Community Foundation of Louisville.
Contributions to The Stephanie Decker Foundation support two major areas:
1) Kids with prosthetics: the Foundation children with prosthetics get involved in sports and enjoy the same athletic opportunities as others. The Deckers have a camp for children with limb amputations – “Our foundation helps provide sport opportunities, and sports are huge in our family. Being able to provide kids with confidence, skill, and teach metaphors for life experiences is priceless. When the kids first come into camp they are shy, but then they just blossom and come out of their shell. The truth is, those kids personally give us so much more in return than we can give them. It’s about the kids. They are our “why.” “
2) Access to leading-edge prosthetics: Stephanie and Joe want to help amputees without access to extraordinary technology, which would help them with their mobility, gain this access. They continue to fight laws limiting advancements and availability of technologies for amputees.
Since the accident, Stephanie has been featured on The Today Show, The Ellen Degeneres Show, ABC World News Tonight as “Person of the Week”, USA Today,USA Weekend, and People Magazine. She was featured in Successful Meetings list of Most Reliable Keynote Speakers who surpass expectations. She was also named as one of the L’Oreal’s 2014 Women of Worth Honorees.
On March 8, 2013, Stephanie was the “Person of the Week” on ABC World news with Diane Sawyer
With the help of family and friends, Stephanie has become a motivational speaker, offering encouragement in dealing with the inevitable storms in life. Here she is at a TED conference:
The only limitations in life are the ones you put on yourself…
“My life changed forever on March 2, 2012. I lost my legs, but I also finally figured out what I wanted to be when I grew up. Now I am telling you that, no matter how old you are, there are still so many life lessons to be learned. Life is short and you never know what will happen to you. Don’t wait for your second chance, do something now” (Huffington Post)
Stephanie Decker – Heroine, Benefactor, Educator, Advocate – our Inspiration
Learn more about Stephanie and the Stephanie Decker Foundation –
Contributions to the Stephanie Decker Foundation can be made at: https://cflfund.net/netcommunity/stephaniedecker