AWARD-WINNING and BESTSELLING AUTHOR
Parts of this memoir appeared on ESPN and in Rosie.
Fractured Not Broken is a true story of loss, faith, and a rare love that only happens in nonfiction.
In a sweeping and heart-wrenching narrative, Kelly exposes the truth about what happened after a drunk driver rendered her a quadriplegic. She shares how she found her way back—through faith and pain, her community, her family, and the love of a man she’d prayed for.
|Fractured Accident Scene|
One day during free time, we had the opportunity to tube behind boats with the campers. The girls in our cabin begged me to try it. Why not? Didn’t I want them to treat me the same?
“I’ll go with you,” one girl said.
“I will too,” another girl said.
The tube was a three-seater, but they all wanted to go. To be fair, Blayr broke matchsticks into different lengths and had each girl draw one. The two who had the longest sticks took their turn first.
I was nervous and excited at the same time, like the first time I rode the rollercoaster at Holiday World. Two girls draped me in a life vest and placed a red helmet on my head, which was camp policy, and carried me into the water to the tube. They set me in the middle slot until I was snug. One girl sat on each side of me in her own slot.
“If we flip over who will dive in after me? I can’t move to swim so promise me you’ll bring my head to the surface,” I said.
The girls cried out in unison, “I will!”
The driver of the boat nodded. “I won’t go fast enough for you to flip, but if that happens we’ll dive in after you.”
“Don’t baby me,” I said to the driver. “Go your usual speed.”
He nodded and took off.
I squinted in the sun and bounced and careened across the sparkling water. Waves splashed warm water across my arms, misted my cheeks, and dampened my long braided hair. I hadn’t felt this free since before the accident, ready to take on the world and leave my imprint in the lives of the teens surrounding me.
I tubed three times so other girls could take a turn next to me. Other camp members gathered around at the water’s edge to watch. I doubted they ever saw a girl like me tubing before.
The next day was the tug-o-war, and, of course, the girls wanted me to participate in this event too.
“You can be at the end of our line, Kelly,” one girl said. “We’ll tie the rope to your chair. How much does it weight?”
I laughed. “Three hundred pounds.”
“Wow, our team will be the strongest,” another girl said. She tied the end of the rope to the back of my chair. We lined up—their team against ours—with me and my chair at the end of our line, facing out.
On go, I was supposed to roll forward.
“On your mark, get set, go!”
Each team tugged. I threw my chair into forward drive, but within seconds, it jarred backwards and toppled over. My head and the handles of the chair hit the ground and dragged in the sand. There wasn’t anything I could do but lie there and laugh.
At first, no one seemed to notice me in the dirt.
The other team dragged our team until someone on the sidelines shouted. “Stop! Wheelchair down!”
Everyone stopped pulling and turned to me. One girl covered her gaping mouth with her hand. Quickly the girls huddled around me and righted me and my chair.
“Are you okay?” they asked.
I nodded and laughed.
When they saw me laughing and realized I wasn’t hurt, they laughed, too.
On the way home, the trip leader asked me, “Well, what did you think of your experience?”
“I loved it.” And I meant it. It was as if the speakers had spoken only to me. Even though I had gone to be there for the girls, the experience had improved my attitude and deepened my faith. It wouldn’t have happened if I hadn’t wheeled out of my comfort zone.
“Will you go with us again?” the leader asked.
“I’d love to,” I said without hesitation.
The song, “The Great I Am,” by Phillips, Craig & Dean, became my favorite song.
Whenever I hear it, I remember my first of many Young Life trips, and how I tubed and played tug-o-war with teens in New York.
Thank you, God, for taking me out of my cushy comfort zone to make a greater impact in my life, to show others how great you are, and to deepen my faith in you.
Kelly is a true heroine, finding God as she battles with a life as a quadriplegic. Overcoming obstacles every day, she’s a speaker, teacher, and Skittles lover. Michelle, Kelly’s aunt, is an award-winning and bestselling author who penned Kelly’s memoir to bring others hope. She writes stories that move her, and this one is close to her heart.
Time for celebrations
Michelle is living her dream—writing every day and thanking God for the stories He puts in her path. When Michelle isn’t writing she’s winning ugly on the tennis court. She’s known as “Queen of the Rim Shots.” No joke. It’s ugly.
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