‘Fight Like Ana’: Documentary shows Ana Wakefield’s recovery

Human Interest

Ana Wakefield nearly killed in a head-on crash near Damascus in 2017

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — It was just over 4 years ago when Ana Wakefield’s life changed forever. The Multnomah University student was on her way to basketball practice when a fiery crash nearly killed her.

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Ana Wakefield nearly died in this crash on Hwy 212 near Damascus, October 2017 (KOIN, file)

There is now a documentary, Fight Like Ana, that chronicles her remarkable fight and journey to recover.

In October 2017, she was driving on Highway 212 headed to practice when she was hit head-on just west of Damascus.

“I remember being in the hospital,” her dad, Dave Wakefield said in the documentary. “I remember being in the hospital wishing I had one more chance.”

She had 5 brain surgeries in 3 weeks. She was paralyzed on her left side and had numerous other serious injuries. Ana not only had to fight to survive, she had to learn how to walk and talk again.

“I was one person, and then I died,” Ana said, “and was reborn and had to rediscover and learn who I am.”

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Ana Wakefield nearly died in a crash on Hwy 212 near Damascus, October 2017 (KOIN, file)

“Ana was a walking miracle,” her mom said in the documentary. “But she’ll never be who she was before.”

Her rough road to recovery caught the attention of a pair of Wisconsin filmmakers. They flew to Mulino and stayed with the Wakefield family to film “Fight Like Ana.”

“We wanted to show the world that tough things happen and you can overcome them but it changes you,” cinematographer Nathan Stevens said. “It changes the course of your life and you have to adapt.”

Dave Wakefield said he remembers “the dark days at OHSU and being told, ‘Get used to it. This is the way she will always be, a vegetable.’ You don’t lose hope.”

That hope pulled the family and Ana through.

She has remained positive and even told the driver who caused the hit-and-run crash she forgives him.

Ana Wakefield credits rehab and her faith for the big strides she’s made. It was also important to her that she live on her own and work.

Ana Wakefield was nearly killed in a 2017 crash near Damascus. Her recovery is documented in “Fight Like Ana.” (Courtesy, Fight Like Ana)

Less than 6 months after the crash, “Fight Like Ana” was the mantra they adapted and had imprinted on her sweatshirt. At that time she said it’s because people “want to remember to have that tenacity, like, hey, push yourself to go farther than you think you can.”

“I do want to get better, but I also want to survive. To be able to go to the store and afford groceries. It’s not the best to go to the doctor every day,” she said.

Currently she has several jobs, including as coach of the Canby JV girl’s basketball team.

She’s fought hard, her dad said in the documentary. “She’s doing thing that nobody thought was possible.”

“Fight Like Ana” was released October 27, 2021. It’s available free on YouTube.

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