By Jueseppi B.
Mom loses legs saving kids from Tornado
Published on Mar 6, 2012
Stephanie Decker knew she had no choice but to shield her children with her own body.
From ABC NIGHTLINE:
Hero Mom, Stephanie Decker, Loses Legs Saving Kids From Tornado
As the sky glowered black and Stephanie Decker felt the monster tornado begin to suck her house into its vortex, she knew it would not hold and she had no choice but to shield her two young kids with her own body. She lost her legs in the process.
“I knew my leg was barely attached or it was severed. I didn’t know which but I knew it was bad. If I didn’t get help soon, I was going to bleed out,” Decker told ABC News, which interviewed her Monday night from her hospital bed in Louisville, Ky.
Decker, 37, and her family were smack dab in the middle of a tornado outbreak Friday that included 140 reported twisters, 76 confirmed landings and 39 deaths.
“It was nothing I expected,” the Henryville, Ind., woman said. “I never, ever thought in a million years my house would be blown away.”
She was determined to keep her kids safe, and her actions saved them, but at a steep cost. Not only was her home lost, but both of her legs had to be amputated late Friday — one just below the knee, the other just above it.
“I assumed I was safe and I heard the roar like a train, and I heard it behind me, and I knew it was coming,” she recalled today. “And it was so loud that I knew that I needed to do something different. I knew staying put wasn’t going to work.”
So Decker acted. She dashed down into her home’s basement with son Dominic, 8, and daughter Reese, 5. As the house began to disintegrate she tried to shield them with a comforter.
“My daughter said, ‘Mommy, I don’t like this,’ and I said, ‘I know honey,’” Decker said. “I could see the wind. I could see the window blew out and the house burst.”
She was crushed under the cascade of debris.
“I remember the whole thing,” she said. “I stayed conscious the whole time. I couldn’t afford [to pass out]. They needed me. They had to have me, so I had to figure out what to do. And my son is a hero. He went to get help.”
Both her legs were smashed. She’d also suffered a punctured lung.
Her children, however, were unscathed.
Next, it was her son’s turn for heroism. He knew his mother was hurt and he crawled out from under his mother and dashed over to a neighbor’s house.
“After … Dominic left,” she said, “I realized I couldn’t get out because I actually used the comforter I tied with them as a tourniquet. I knew I was cut.”
Help soon came. Decker was evacuated to the hospital.
Overnight, her husband, Joe Decker, tearfully said that the flattened house on Henryville Road had been their dream house.
Stephanie Decker had told her husband she always wanted to have the children’s handprints imprinted in the foundation’s cement, because “we were never gonna leave here.”
And there they are today. Small prints, with the “Reese,” and “D” for Dominic scrawled in the concrete, an indelible testimony to a family still intact.
Mother Shields Children From Tornado, Loses Limbs: “World News” Person of the Week
Published on Mar 8, 2013
Stephanie Decker loses limbs while saving kids from incoming tornado.
Supports children with prosthetics to participate in sports, and helps ordinary people gain access to extraordinary prosthetic technology.
The Stephanie Decker Foundation honor the courageous mother who used her own body to protect her young children from the destructive forces of a tornado in Henryville, Indiana. She lost part of both her legs, but not her generous spirit.
The Stephanie Decker Foundation supports two major areas:
1) Kids with prosthetics: Stephanie and Joe love kids and sports, and they especially love kids playing sports! They want to help children with prosthetics get involved in sports and enjoy the same athletic opportunities as others.
2) Access to leading-edge prosthetics: Stephanie has been fortunate to have access to some of the latest high-tech prosthetics available, but many more people don’t have that same technology available to them. Stephanie and Joe want to help ordinary people get access to extraordinary technology to help them with their mobility.
The Stephanie Decker Foundation is part of the Community Foundation of Louisville, a public charity in Louisville, Kentucky.
Tornado Survivor Stephanie Decker Walks on Stage
Published on Dec 13, 2012
The last time she was here, Stephanie Decker told Ellen how she saved her children from a tornado by shielding them with her body. She lost both her legs, and promised to come back to walk on the show. Today, she made good on her promise.
Stephanie Decker Starts Foundation to Help Others After Losing Her Legs in a Tornado
Life is not always as we pan it out to be. Sometimes it takes some really unexpected turns that changes our lifestyle, our way of living, changing our outlook on the world as it is, for better or worse. Stephanie Decker experienced a life changing event as she lost both her legs in storm of deadly twisters in Indiana on March, 2012 while saving her two kids. Now almost a year after the tragedy, Stephanie, who is now 38, describes the sacrifice as a small price to pay for her kids’ safety. Thankfully, she is already up on prosthetic legs because of the hours of grueling physical therapy. She hardly let the painful experience slow her down, instead, she created the Stephanie Decker Foundation that aims to help kids with disabilities.
Stephanie says, “I’m a better person now, life goes on.” The tornado that ripped through Henryville leveled the Decker’s house on top of Stephanie as she covered her son and daughter. A steel beam crashed down on top of three of them, but she managed to escape her children from the disaster without a scratch. Stephanie says, “As parents, we sacrifice for our kids.” Even now, her routine at home is quite similar to what it used to be, Stephanie says, “The only difference is I wake up in the morning and I put legs on, there are days that I go ‘This is hard, it hurts.’ But all I have to do is take one look at my kids and it’s enough. I wasn’t going to let this stop me.” She event went as high up in reaching out to President Obama to help her access a military grade water resistant prosthetic leg so she can swim with her children.
Stephanie’s husband Joe says, “Stephanie’s never been one to take no for an answer, I’m so thankful I didn’t get to the house and find my wife and kids dead. Stephanie’s so strong; she’s the core of our family.”
Stephanie’s son Dominic recalls, “My mom and dad made us take baby steps, we’d sleep in their bed, and then sleep right by their bed, and then sleep on the couch and then sleep in the front room and then sleep upstairs.” He says his mom is a hero as she saved him. Decker family is continues to get better every day as well the Stephanie Decker Foundation.
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From PEOPLE MAGAZINE:
Woman Who Lost Her Legs in Tornado Starts Foundation to Help Others
When a storm of deadly twisters ravaged Indiana in March 2012, Stephanie Decker saved her two kids – but lost both her legs.
Now, less than a year after the tragedy, Decker, 38 – who describes the sacrifice as a “small price to pay” for her kids’ safety – is already up on prosthetic legs thanks to countless hours of grueling physical therapy. She has barely let the traumatic experience slow her down – and instead created the Stephanie Decker Foundation that aims to help kids with disabilities.
“I’m a better person now,” says Decker. “Life goes on.”
The tornado that ripped through Henryville leveled the Deckers’ house on top of Stephanie as she covered son Dominic, 9, and daughter Reese, 6. A steel beam crashed down on top of the three of them, but her children escaped the disaster without a scratch.
“As parents, we sacrifice for our kids,” says Decker.
These days, her routine at home is pretty similar to what it used to be. “The only difference is I wake up in the morning and I put legs on,” she says. “There are days that I go ‘This is hard, it hurts.’ But all I have to do is take one look at my kids and it’s enough. I wasn’t going to let this stop me.”
That determination is clear in Decker, who went as high up as President Obama to help her access a military grade water resistant prosthetic leg so she can swim with her children.
“Stephanie’s never been one to take no for an answer,” says her husband Joe, a high school math teacher. “I’m so thankful I didn’t get to the house and find my wife and kids dead. Stephanie’s so strong, she’s the core of our family.”
Though the kids still have nightmares, the Decker family is getting better every day, and are grateful to be together.
The Deckers’ son, Dominic, says getting past the tragedy took a bit of time. “My mom and dad made us take baby steps,” he says. “We’d sleep in their bed, and then sleep right by their bed, and then sleep on the couch and then sleep in the front room and then sleep upstairs.”
Asked if his mom is a hero, he says, “Yeah, because she saved me.”
And Decker aims to help others, too.
In December, her fledging foundation received a $10,000 donation from Shutterfly during an appearance on Ellen DeGeneres‘s show. She’s also recently partnered with NubAbility Athletics – which helps kids with congenital and traumatic amputations compete in sports – to set up scholarships for kids to attend their sports camps.
“I should have been dead in 15 minutes,” says Decker. “But I told my kids I was going to be here and that everything was going to be okay.”
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