Jennifer McColley, 37, was used to taking care of other people, but now she’s the one that could use some help. After working on the front lines of the pandemic at Banner Health in AZ, McColley decided to get away by taking a camping trip. Unfortunately, a tragic car accident left her injured and unable to see. Now, she’s trying to get back to the life she had – one step at a time.
An Unforgettable Camping Trip to Colorado
It was last fall when McColley left her hometown of Phoenix to go camping with her four children in Colorado. While driving off-road, McColley’s SUV took a wrong turn. Her car ended up rolling down a 150-foot cliff. McColley was ejected before the vehicle landed upside near a creek. Her friend, Tia, was also in the car, and managed to pull McColley out of the creek and onto dry land. Tia then climbed a nearby cliff to look for help. The accident left McColley paralyzed with a broken rib and back. She also suffered a stroke, which left her partially blind.
McColley was quickly transported to a local hospital, where she stayed for nearly two months. Family members eventually paid to have her transferred to a hospital in Phoenix so they could be closer to her during her recovery.
They were more than overjoyed to finally see her after two long months. “My whole body is shaking. I am just overwhelmed with the gratitude for everybody,” McColley’s mother, Marie Latlip, said at the time.
According to her Aunt Cathy, after months of physical therapy, McColley can move one foot, some of her eyesight has been restored, and she’s using a wheelchair to get around.
“I want to give her one of the necklaces that says ‘strength’ on it, so she can have strength, so she can get better. So we can spend time together once again,” said McColley’s daughter, Abrianna.
The Long Road to Recovery
McColley says she’s anxious to get back to nursing, but she still has a long way to go before she can return to work. She’s currently trying to regain her strength at her mother’s house, but it’s not conducive to her needs now that she’s confined to a wheelchair.
“The way this house was built years ago, I’m so grateful my mom helped get me out of the hospital. But I can’t fit my wheelchair through any of the bathroom doors. The half bathroom, I can’t get in to brush my teeth or use the facilities,” she said.
She is currently accepting donations via GoFundMe. In addition to raising money for her medical expenses, McColley is also hoping to find a one-story home for her and her four kids near where they go to school, so they can get back to some sense of a normal life. Currently, all their possessions are in storage.
“I thought that I wouldn’t be able to be on my own again and get my kids back like we used to have our normal life. I know that it’s possible,” McColley added.
In addition to raising four kids, she is also a foster parent to two of her nephews. She has a master’s degree in nursing, which she obtained as a single mother.
“I’m sick of being on the patient side of things. I want to be back on the nursing side of things,” McColley said.
Our heart goes out to the McColley family. We hope Jennifer can get back to nursing as soon as possible. Remember to play it safe when you’re not at the hospital, so you can continue to take care of your patients when they need you most.