The first annual Dirk Derrick Car & Truck Accident Injury Scholarship received hundreds of applicants sharing their story of how they have been impacted by an accident, their challenges, and how they have worked to overcome those challenges. While many of the applications were solid contenders, a young woman from the University of San Diego shared her story and showed how serious, life threatening injuries from an accident affected her life, as well as how she worked to beat the odds to physically recover, excel in school, and move forward in her life.
Below is our 2018 Dirk Derrick Car & Truck Accident Injury Scholarship winner Brooke Dewyea's story:
"During the Summer of 2017, while out running to train for an upcoming Summer Army ROTC Deployment to Africa, I was struck by a car, pulling a camper. As a result I suffered traumatic head injuries and was airlifted to a level 1 trauma center in the State of Vermont. It turned out that I suffered not only skull fractures and a TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury), but I had a Subarachnoid Hemorrhage.
I spent a week in the hospital before I was even awake and speaking. I only remember flashes of the time I spent between ICU and the trauma floor. I was eventually transferred to the hospitals' in-patient intensive rehabilitation center. I spent weeks working on speaking clearly, reading, walking, memorization and doing everyday tasks again. Following my discharge, the recovery was the toughest experience that I've ever had to overcome. I spent months sitting in a chair, staring at the wall, and much time staring at the sky through specially shaded sunglasses when I was fortunate enough to have my grandmother take me to her campsite. I could not handle screens, noise, or excessive light. At first, I was only able to walk 70 yards before I became sick. However, I knew that I was fortunate every day.
Although my family doesn't have much for money, I have been surrounded with a loving, caring community that went above and beyond just to ensure that I had the money to pay the co-pays for my Physical Therapy and Speech Therapy appointments. I spent many more months working on reading, memorization, exercising, and tolerating screen-time. In time my full hearing ability returned, memory improved immensely, speech and reaction time improved fully, and exercise tolerance made great leaps as well. Although I have made some improvements, the effects of the accident will forever linger in my life.
As a result of the injury, I will face a medical disqualification from my Army ROTC scholarship, directly affecting my ability to attend school. Also, I may never regain my sense of smell, have a normal body temperature regulation, and will continue to struggle with my attention span and headaches. However, I feel extremely grateful and blessed everyday for my life and support system. An unfortunate one, such as mine, has been an opportunity to rise up and grow stronger. I am thankful for the person I have become as a result of it and I hope that sharing my experience and what I have learned can help others as well.
Overall, I believe that I am a deserving candidate for this scholarship because I have not only excelled in school thus far with a 3.96 GPA, but I am a fighter, overcoming a serious brain injury with even more determination than I had before. As a result of the brain injury, I will be medically disqualified from my Army ROTC scholarship and faced with over $250,000 in medical bills, along with whatever debt I will accumulate to finish school, which will add to the $35,000 that I already have. I would be incredibly thankful for whatever help I can receive so that I can continue with my education."
For more information about the Dirk Derrick Car & Truck Accident Injury Scholarship for 2019, please see www.derricklawfirm.com/scholarship.