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Recovery continues from tragic holiday By Debran Rowland Sheila Forsner smiles as her sisler reminds her of an upcoming arpointment at the beauty parlor. ThaI she can smile at all is a miracle in itself. said family members who gathered OIl a relative's Rurbank home Sunday. Since Fursm:r awoke rrom a 5-month willa in January 1990, Ihere have been other small miracles that serve to inspire them all.

prefer to forgel. Their 3-month..old baby, AIell, was killed. Another son, Brian, suffered chest injuries, and Shcila Forsrler "ruggles caeh day to overcome severe brain damage, which has left her almost completely paraJyzed and confined to a whedchair.

Bits or her memory thought to have vanished have bqun to retum slowly, making the last year "I knew she'd come back," said • bittersweet experience. "Out I remember more' about the acciEileen Heelan, Forsrn:r's molller. Fimncr, 27, and her husband, dent IS weD as the happy times Ed, have been rcbuilding their berore, she said. wurld since the Elmhurst couplc's ' After I long and difficult strug\:ar was rammed on the shoultkr Kk, Fonner has begun to put her (lr the Stevenson ,Expressway 'two Ilfe bad:: together. For the first years ago Monday by • drunken time since the accident, she's been driver traveling 70 m .p.h. It is an able to really cnjoy the holiday annivcrsary the; Forsners would gatherings like Sunday's, she said.

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Relatives surround Sheila Forsner at a gatherIng Sunday In Burbank. An accIdent two years "Before, .I we still I IittJe confused," she said, sitting in the sun in a wheelchair. Most heanenin, 1lI1, ramily memben said, is Forsncr's fastest


Coal. Since April,


ago Monday left Forsner almost completel paralyzed and confined to 8 wheelchair.


hM ruited

seventI OIic:ag()-1lJaI hi~ schools

in an effort to keep 'someone cbc from drinltinl and drivinc." She haS made 8 point giving


speeches to students It prol time, when rrivolitY can overcorr good judgment "I want to leO people what C2


See R«oYCf1, by Debran Rowland PI.



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But emergi", out of that despair, an8er and hurt was • will that ha$ propelled Fonner through the trauma of learning to talk again Conllnued fro", pale I 8J!d, mos~ recenlly, 10 rcal herself happen if you drink and drive, and Wlth her ngllt hand. I'm livinl proof," forsner said. "When Sheila fint came out or She is also scheduled 10 ~ve testi- lhe coma,she couldn't even move Olony berore a panel of Judges in her finger," Wd her husband. who ' Do~ale Findlay on June 14 in a becanle tongue-tied when I!ked 10 program desi8ned 10 help judges describe the battle thaI has become beller tmder.;land the perspective of . FOfSI\Cr'S everyday life. victims. "But the day she 6rst smiled, we Though it all lalces lremendous all can remember thaL I have it elTort, F'"or.;ner sajd it helps her . . written down somewhere," he The driver of the car that struck added. "She is amazing. I don't the For.;ner.;, Daniel Carpenler; 24, knnw anybody ebe who would be in was convicted and sentenced in sm:h good spirits. I know I wouldn't September 1990 10 5 years in pris- be." on for reckless homicide 'Bnd TlIOUgh it ha$ been slow. FQf1ner dnwken driving. He was drivin& on has learned to reuse the telephone, a 5Uspcndcd- license at the lime of • feat her ramily now jokes aboul. the accident. Her spoech is dear unlil she gets "You learn a lot' about the legal weary. system and the medical system and The price for such improvements the insurance system when some- has run to more tlum $)00,000 for thing like this happens," said Patri- tJle family. Frienm and family have ce !-leclan, one or For.;ner's sisler.;, set up A trust fill~ and are planning who spends olT hours helping her to II benefit for September to help pay recover. some of the medical bills. "It is so incredibly unjust," she She has 0150 received I computer said. recently with the goal of beginning

to relearn the kC}'board and twin&. Fonner was a word prooasor before lhe accident ended hercafCCf. "She and Bernie (another sister) are going to write ' a boo"''' Patrice Hedon explained.

Recovery, by Debran Rowland

'" am trying to Daniel Carpenter," Fonner 5llld. '" don't


WIInt anyone else 10 lose someone ther love. especially a child" And Fonner Slid she is not finiJhed yet. She has set a goal for next Memorial Day. "Hopcruny, 111 be .walking," she joked, looking over at her sister Bernie. "OK, maybe with. walker." By Debran Rowland

Debran Rowland -- "Recovery continues from tragic holiday." (Chicago Tribune, 5/27/91)  

Debran Rowland tell the story of a woman paralyzed from an accident.