Tale of strength: Accident victim motivates others

A valley woman -- an innocent victim of a tragic accident, spent the past year and a half recovering, fighting to regain her strength and her life.

This week, Terry Deignan will share her story of survival in an effort to help others.

"I was hit and ran over on Memorial Day.. going out for my son's engagement.. we were going to celebrate," she recalled.

What started as a celebration quickly turned into tragedy.

"My daughter and I were both hit from behind and drug under the vehicle," said Deignan. The impact crushed her bones and severed her leg.

"I had 10 surgeries, but I didn't actually wake up until June.. I was in a coma."

The now 60-year-old spent 70 days in a hospital and several months at HealthSouth in Glendale learning to walk again.

Deignan used the power of her mind to regain strength in her body. Her positive attitude was a daily motivation for those around her.

"She did all the work herself, she was amazing," said Dr. Mike Kravetz, medical director at HealthSouth.

So amazing says Dr. Kravetz that she was invited to share her story as part of the hospital's National Rehabilitation Week.

"I really tell patients kind of just try to focus on each day not think ahead too much," said Deignan. "In my own mind what I tried to do was try to move my right arm about an inch at a time and when I could move it about 8 inches.. was a great goal and very exciting."

Every step she takes on her own is exciting. Every move she cherishes, knowing there will be more.

Deignan will speak on Tuesday inside the hospital's gym.

The man responsible for the accident that took her leg was charged with driving while impaired. Deignan is awaiting word on whether he will go to trial.