Her hopes of one day becoming a nurse ended when she was hit by a driver who didn’t stick around to see if she was OK. She almost died, lost all motor skills in her hands, and is confined to a wheelchair.
But MTSU student Jennifer Austin, 26, from Cowan, said that’s not going to stop her living her dream of driving again.
With two weeks left before the semester ends, Austin is, like most students, cramming for final exams. But unlike most students, she’s a quadriplegic.
The Franklin County woman was involved in a hit-and-run car crash in 2006 on Interstate 24 near Manchester that left her paralyzed from the chest down and clinging to life. Doctors only gave her a 20 percent chance of living.
That was then, but this is now. She graduated from MTSU with a bachelor’s degree in Human Sciences, Child Development and Family Studies and will soon finish graduate school with a master’s in Health and Human Performance with a concentration in Health.
In addition to her hope of one day walking again, Austin also has a dream of getting behind the wheel and driving for the first time since the accident. That’s something she said she can’t do with her outdated 1997 Dodge Caravan.
Austin has entered an online contest sponsored by the National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association. Three winners will be receiving a brand new, customized, handicap accessible vans.
But in order to have a chance of winning, Austin will need to place in the top 5 among 1,200 contestants. You can vote for her once a day on your computer, or multiple times a day with your cell phone. Go to our website and click on the link to cast your vote: