Mother-daughter pair Pat Henman and Maia Vezina both survived a horrific car accident last year. Vezina gave an impassioned presentation to the LVR graduates on Wednesday.

Accident survivors speak out

Pat Henman and daughter Maia Vezina visited L.V.Rogers School on Wednesday.

Maia Vezina remembers clearly the moment her mother Pat turned to her and said “Maia, I’m going to die” shortly before losing consciousness.

Vezina and Henman were trapped in the wreckage of their car just outside Skookumchuck. An SUV piloted by a  woman, believed to be intoxicated, had crossed the centre line and plowed into them head-on. Now Vezina found herself arguing with paramedics, and asking them to save her mother first. A year later, she thinks that decision may have been responsible for saving her mother’s life.

“Those are the hardest words you can hear someone you love say,” said Vezina. “I think she knew something was wrong.”

Vezina described the event and its aftermath to a rapt grad class in L.V. Rogers on June 5. Strutting across the room, with a skin graft on her left thigh the only readily visible injury, the students may have had a hard time imagining Vezina’s struggles. But her Power Point presentation drove her points home.

“I broke my left femur. I broke my right femur in two places. Both ankles. My left knee. Pelvis. Both arms. Right wrist. Left clavicle. First left rib. Left cheekbone,” she said.

On top of that, Vezina is still waiting on two surgeries and she currently has bone chips floating around inside her that she can feel every day.

“I healed and I’m getting better, but this is never-ending. I’m going to be dealing with this for the rest of my life,” she said.

Vezina’s injuries weren’t as serious as her mother’s, and she said having one another in the hospital was the way they pulled through. She said if it wasn’t for the encouragement of her mother, she may still be in a wheelchair today.

“She helped me get up,” said Vezina.

Henman and Vezina’s father Larry were in the audience as she recounted her story, which gave students a firsthand account of the consequences of drunk driving, just in time for upcoming graduation celebrations.

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