Miracle Kids: Family's bond helps teen find strength

TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) - When all seems lost, families confide in each other to find strength.

On January 15, 2015, Allie Schafer was riding in a car with her neighbor on an icy street in Monroeville. The driver lost control of the car and slammed into a utility pole on Allie's side of the car. In an instant, Allie's life, and the lives of those around her, were changed forever.

Andrew Schafer, Allie's Father, recounted the terrifying moments that followed.

"I walked up to the car, and I could tell you know her head was all deformed. And I said 'Allie, Allie, you alright?' and she just didn't respond, just lifeless," Andrew Schafer said.

Allie was crushed and pinned in the car.

St Vincent Mercy Life Flight took her to the hospital, where she spent several weeks in a coma. Her family was in agony, wondering if she would ever wake up again.

"So I just sat by her bed for probably two days, and tried to get some little naps in," said Allie's brother, Nickolas Schafer. "It was really hard, but I knew she was in good hands. I had trust in all of her doctors."

They family was awake for the first 48 hours by Allie's side, waiting for her to open her eyes. The nurses told them to go get some sleep.

But her mother, Wendy, was afraid to leave her side.

"I said, 'If we leave, is she still going to be alive when we come back?'" Wendy Schafer said.

Allie had suffered a traumatic brain injury, brain bleeds and multiple skull fractures.

When she finally came out of her coma, Allie had trouble remembering anything at first, even her own family.

"They never left my side," said Allie, looking at her family as she talks. "So I don't know how, I just knew mom, brother, dad."

And that family, stayed by her side as she had to learn how to do even the most basic things all over again.

"It's been like raising a little kid again," Andrew said. "She had to learn how to walk, talk, eat drink. Just everything you go through on a daily basis. She had to re-learn everything."

Allie's also had to recover from a painful broken hip and pelvic bones. She was in pain during her physical therapy, even having to move her leg.

"I learned, I guess that I'm strong," Allie said, "If I put my mind toward something, I just go through with it."

But through it all, her family says the care she got here at Mercy Children's Hospital made all the difference.

"They pushed Allie," said Wendy Schafer, "and they just they saw the light at the end of the tunnel, when we couldn't."

Denise Lampros-Oancea is one of the nurses at St. Vincent Mercy Children's Hospital who took care of Allie during her coma and then during her recovery.

Lampros-Oancea says the love of Allie's family is remarkable.

"It inspires me to see the love they have for her," she said. "They never left the bedside. To see our team come together and everyone have the same goal of seeing her get better. And I think to myself how lucky am I to get to do this?"

Another one of her nurses, Tammy Wilhelm, agrees the best part of her job is to see a child recover.

"She's almost like she was before right?" says Wilhelm. "She was just saying how sassy and vibrant and she is. And she's got all her words back, and she stands up for herself. That's what we strive for, to give them their child back."

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