PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Ana Wakefield almost died on Oct. 18, 2017 when a man driving an SUV crossed over the center line on Highway 212 and hit her head-on as she was on her way to basketball practice at Multnomah University.
For two weeks following the nearly fatal crash, Ana’s family didn’t know if she would live. Her entire left side was paralyzed. Since then, she has had five brain surgeries and has learned to walk, talk and eat all over again.
The man suspected of crashing into Ana’s car and then fleeing the scene, 20-year-old Sequoyha Stork, faces 11 charges including two counts of assault, possession of a stolen motor vehicle and DUII. He was arrested on June 21, 2018.
On Tuesday, Ana, 21, was able to meet some of the firefighters who pulled her out of her car — giving her the chance to slide down a fire pole and sit in a fire truck.
“I loved it, loved getting to honk the horn and getting the lights to go and sit there and actually be kind of in the position of driving again,” Ana told KOIN 6 News. “It was so fantastic.”
On Wednesday, a day before the one-year anniversary of the crash, Ana met the doctors and clinical staff who saved her life.
Ana said she doesn’t remember some of the doctors who worked hard to save her life, but she was happy to have the opportunity to thank her brain surgeon, Dr. Jason Chang.
“It’s been so exciting to see the people who have made a difference,” she said.
Her dad, David Wakefield, on the other hand, does remember.
“It brought back memories of being in this conference room and other rooms where you’re told the diagnosis of your daughter that it doesn’t look good and there’s minimal hope,” he said. “To have that all flood back and it was Dr. Chang and his precision and the surgeries that really gave her a fighting chance. I know all the ICU nurses and trauma ward that played a part too.”
Chang said Ana’s recovery is the “silver lining” in all the work they do.
“You’re living proof that what we’re doing is good,” he said.
He said Ana’s brain injury was severe and had a lot of swelling, so the outcome was uncertain.
“I’ve been thinking a lot about this day actually,” Chang told Ana. “You told me from the beginning, one year, be ready. It’s real. It happened. I’m so glad and proud of how much the team has worked to get you to this point. It makes all the stuff we struggle with every day all that much better.”
Ana has made incredible progress and she continues to build her physical and mental strength everyday.
“I’ve loved it because I’ve just got to see the improvement,” Ana said. “Now I can stand. Now I can walk. Now I can run. All those little things I see everything and it just makes me so so thankful.”