Trauma Survivors Network - provided by ATS

Survive. Connect. Rebuild.

A Program of the ATS

Dawne's Story

My Story

I am pleased to share with you how I went from a crash survivor to creating a support group.  One week prior to my crash, I was on vacation in Florida with my boyfriend and I was suddenly jolted awake in the middle of the night with a terrible feeling that something awful had happened to someone close to me. It was a feeling that I had never experienced before and I thought I was going to get a call that someone had passed unexpectedly. I carried this feeling with me for days and I just couldn't seem to shake this unsettling anxious feeling no matter how hard I tried. One week "to the day" I was involved in a horrific car crash.

I was on my way to work stopped to make a left-hand turn and my life as I knew it suddenly changed in a matter of seconds. I was transported to a local hospital but my injuries were so severe that they had to transport me to a trauma hospital. When I arrived in the trauma unit I remember being greeted by the Chaplain as I was truly lucky to be alive. I suffered multiple injuries including a head injury and a horrific seatbelt wound.

My Life Changed In A Matter Of Seconds

I only spent three days in the trauma unit as they decided to discharge me even though I couldn't walk. I think back to that morning and I was actually excited to be leaving the hospital and couldn't wait to have a shower, wash my hair and put my pyjamas on. I didn't realize that I would be absolutely terrified to get into another vehicle, how bad the pain would be once the morphine had worn off and I suddenly realized that I could not walk and I was in excruciating pain. Daily nursing, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, PSW's and numerous medical follow up appointments had now become my new way of life not to mention financial strain, flashbacks, sleepless nights, constant pain, the "what if's" and anxiety. I had a job that I loved and my social life and friendships as I once knew it came to a screeching halt. Friends who I thought would be there for me were not and I suddenly found myself realizing who my real friends were

As I had never been in a motor vehicle crash like this, it was a HUGE learning curve and recovery for me. My crash happened in 2012 and I continue to attend outpatient rehabilitation. I am still trying my best to cope with the chronic pain, sleepless nights and flashbacks.

Support Group for Survivors

In 2016, I decided to create an online support group for Motor Vehicle Crash Survivors.  I took it upon myself to not only build the support I was seeking, but to spread it out to others who were in similar situations.  Our online support group has over 700 members and counting and a lot of them are either recovering from their crash or just starting to go through the process. "Knowing you are not alone is the main thing and bringing crash survivors together to find support in one another is very therapeutic".  As a survivor, I realized that once survivors of crashes are discharged from the hospital, they really don't have anywhere to reach out to other victims.

The group is strictly to provide members with emotional support while they recover physically, financially and legally. No medical or legal advice is allowed in the group.  "As fellow victims we realize that it can be overwhelming and this group is for us to come together and be there for each other to share our journeys, positivity, advice, resources and daily inspirations".  Although originated and run virtually from Ontario, Canada, the online support group welcome members from all over the globe.  As the membership grew within our online support group, I noticed a great need for more survivor support so our Quarterly Newsletter, “Sharing Our Recovery” was launched which quickly evolved into a Crash Survivor Blog.

“I am not shy about what happened to me because I have become an advocate for other survivors.  I had to go through my own struggles to create this community of brave survivors who continuously fight everyday.  As I look in my rear-view mirror to that awful morning, I see fear that has turned into courage, I see helplessness that has turned into independence and I see weakness that has turned into strength. I see professional strangers both medically and legally that have turned into new friendships who will be in my life for many years to come. I see a kind and patient man that has been my rock and has been by my side every step of the way. I see an overwhelmed struggling victim seeking a support group that was unavailable create an online medium making support available to other victims."

Link to our online support group: Crash Support Network Group
Follow us on twitter: @Crashsupportnet