Life is Wonderful Again for Maria Rea

Maria’s accident crushed the entire left side of her body.

Editor’s Note: Maria Rea suffered horrible injuries in a one-car accident. She was unconscious for a week, heavily sedated for 6 weeks, and lived in the hospital for 9 months. Her life, the life of her family, and the life of her community were changed forever on February 25, 2011, when Maria answered a telephone call on her cell phone as she was driving to work. This remarkable story tells the true story of a courageous woman and the family and the community that never gave up on her. Part 5 of a 5 part series.

“I love teaching my 4 and 5-year olds. You may be surprised, but my students love my wheelchair. The children love taking turns riding in my lap. On the way to school, I drive my minivan from my power chair. When I get to school, I transfer from my power chair to my manual chair. When we go out on the playground, I race the kids. Most people don’t understand how much fun you can have in a wheelchair with 4- and 5-year olds.”

Maria was fortunate enough to find a rehab center closer to her home, the Meadows Regional Medical Center in Vidalia, GA. Her walking is improving and, so far, her longest walk has been 200 feet, with leg braces on and with someone holding her from behind. “I’ve come to accept the fact that I may not ever be able to walk unassisted, and I’ve learned to accept this new world I’ve been thrust into. Through this experience, I’ve learned that almost everything we have can be gone in a split second. I’ve gone to a number of churches and shared my testimony about what God and prayer have done for me. I’ve tried to tell other people that even after a tragedy like this, life does go on. The doctors always told me that I never would be able to do the things that I once did, but now I’m doing all those things, just differently. I may be one big piece of metal, but my body is working again. There’s one thing for sure, I won’t go to the airport and pass through the metal detector without setting off all kinds of alarms.”

Life is wonderful for Maria

Seeing how excited Maria’s husband is about all the things she can do now really warms her heart. He saw his wife lying on her possible death bed for 2 months, and he had to do everything for her. “Now, he sees me being completely independent and doing anything I want to do. I have a power chair, but I prefer my manual chair, because it helps keep my upper body strong, and it’s much easier to maneuver around 22 children in a classroom.

“My little boy Dylan was told, “Your mother will probably be in a wheelchair for the rest of her life.” He answered, “I don’t care, as long as she’s alive.” And those words were what kept me going through all the surgeries, the pain, the rehab and the depression. My kids and my husband were and are everything to me.”

About the Author: For the last 12 years, John E. Phillips of Vestavia, Alabama, has been a professional blogger for major companies, corporations and tourism associations throughout the nation. During his 24 years as Outdoor Editor for “The Birmingham Post-Herald” newspaper, he published more than 7,000 newspaper columns and sold more than 100,000 of his photos to newspapers, magazines and internet sites. He also hosted a radio show that was syndicated at 27 radio stations; created, wrote and sold a syndicated newspaper column that ran in 38 newspapers for more than a decade; and wrote and sold more than 30 books. Learn more at

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