Striving to regain her footing physically and in life
All Kirsten Fields wants to do it is get back on her feet again – literally.
“They assumed everyone was dead in the car,” Fields said of the Feb. 15 accident that seriously injured her and her friend driving the vehicle they were in returning from Gulfport, Miss. It was supposed to be a fun trip, but it went wrong when their room reservations were accidentally cancelled and then on their return to St. Charles Parish her friend fell asleep at the wheel and their car hit a tree.
“It was a life changing event that happened in seconds,” Fields said. “You never expect it. You never know where life is going to take you.”
Fields was ejected from the vehicle and went airborne nearly 20 feet into a wooded area.
It wasn’t until she was airlifted to University Medical Center (UMC) in New Orleans that she got the stunning news of her life changing event.
“I was devastated because they couldn’t tell me if I’d ever walk again,” Fields said. “They told me I could live independently, but I wanted to do whatever I could to walk again … even if I walk in braces. I’m 37. I don’t want to be in a wheelchair the rest of my life.”
Diagnosed with a severe spinal column injury, she is paralyzed from the waist down.
Her friend, the vehicle’s driver, was also seriously injured, and both have not been able to return to work. “She’s really bad off, too,” Fields added.
Two other passengers in the vehicle were also injured, but they’ve recovered and returned to work.
This is what Fields wants with all her being, although she’s had to fight to get back to wanting to resume her life.Following surgery on her spinal cord at UMC, she started therapy at Touro Infirmary in New Orleans.
Fields said it didn’t go well at first.
“I was really depressed,” she said of her four weeks there. “But, then, I started to do more things.”
She also saw more about her life – her two children, age 8 and 15. When she really had time to see them, Fields realized she had to do whatever it took to get back to where she was in life. Firstly, she wants to take care of her family and soonest possible return to being a bank service.
Fields and her children have been living with her mother in St. Rose.
“I still thanked God,” Fields said of her situation. “I just started to get it together.”
So, she researched for alternatives.
Fields found a program called Project Walk, which is based in San Diego, Calif., that she believes could help her walk again. She called the nearest center in Texas and learned it cost $75 an hour that isn’t covered by medical insurance,but she has set out to raise the money for the therapy that involves working with the legs of paralyzed people to boost mobility.
She understands there’s no guarantee she’ll walk again, but she hopes to give this treatment a try. It’s funded through the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation, named for the late actor who died in 2004 after being left a quadriplegic when he was thrown from a horse during an equestrian competition.
Fields saw a YouTube video with a testimonial from someone similarly injured in a wreck like her who talked about how Project Walk helped her and she became that is her next step toward rebuilding her life.
“My goal is just give everything I have to get back to work even with braces,” she said. “I just want to get back on my feet – physically and financially. I want to buy a house for me and my kids. These were things I was in the process of doing and then everything stopped.”