“Words are not enough to thank the Bayflite flight crew.  They saved my life and they are my heroes.”

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAIt was a beautiful Sunday morning July 6, 2003.  I was in a group of cyclists riding down a two-way road.  But there was a driver traveling the opposite direction that was impatient with the person in front of him.  He went around the car and crossed the double yellow lines, and hit me and my cyclist friends head on.  I was immediately thrown from my bicycle, hitting the windshield and bounced over the hood of the car.

All I remember is laying face down in a pool of blood on the hot pavement.  I could hear the painful screams and cries for help from my fellow cyclists. In the faint distance I could also hear the sirens.  I kept telling myself to get up and help the others, but I couldn’t move… I was paralyzed.  All I could do was wait for someone to save me.

“Suddenly I heard a voice, ‘I’m here to help.’  My broken body was taken by Bayflite Air Medical transport helicopter to a nearby hospital.  During the trip a crew of three worked vigorously to stabilize and keep me alive.  I don’t remember much of that period because of the injuries I sustained.  All I know is they did it!  They kept me alive!”

MariaatBMCThis was one of the most unbelievably traumatic experiences of my life. It was definitely a life changing experience. I was confined to a hospital bed for three months.  My back, both of my arms, left leg, and four ribs were broken (Thirteen bones in all).  One of my lungs had collapsed and I suffered a serious brain injury.  The doctors told me I would never walk again and to begin preparing for a complicated and challenging future.

When I finally arrived home, I looked into the eyes of my four handsome, strong sons (who were taking care of me) and I was inspired to fight!  I took every ounce of courage and strength, every minute of each day, to get my mind set on getting out of the wheelchair.

The extraordinary Bayflite crew gave me that opportunity to try and get out of the wheelchair.  I kept thinking, they gave me this chance, and they worked to keep me alive. I can’t disappoint them. I need to show them it was a life worth saving.  So now it was up to me to struggle through several surgeries and many months of physical therapy to learn how to walk, and to take care of myself and my family.  During this time period I was told by one of my physical therapists that in order for me to succeed in what I was trying to do I would have to leave my former athletic self behind and start a new life from that point on.  I did just that and I learned to walk, to take care of myself and my family, but it didn’t stop there.

I started lifting weights for strength and survival, which lead to me bodybuilding.  Not only could I walk, I did it with pride as I walked on stage for my first competition as a bodybuilder in 2006.  I will compete again in September 2007.

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAI can’t even put in words all of the joy, appreciation and love I feel for the Bayflite. They saved me and gave me a second chance. I owe my life to that crew.  I have two commitments now: to help inspire others in fighting for what they believe in, because of what the Bayflite Crew did that for me. The other is to thank all of those who are a true inspiration. Thank you to the Bayflite crew: Flight Nurse Scott Wyant (pictured at left), Scott Zweifel, Flight Paramedic, the Pilot was Amund Moe, and the two Flight Communicators were Jane Stoop and Gil Canchani.