At first paralyzed in crash, woman slowly recovers

Published: March 14, 2007 | 5792nd good news item since 2003

In December, Angel Troyer was told her daughter would never walk again and never breathe on her own.

Now, 2-1/2 months later, her daughter Samantha is home, breathing on her own and, with some effort, able to stand.

“Sam is doing better … eventually she’ll walk,” said Angel.
Samantha’s life changed dramatically when her car was broadsided at Golf Road and Highway 83 on Dec. 18.

Samantha, who will turn 20 Sunday, came back home Feb. 27. Angel is attempting to get her daughter out of the house, including convincing her to attend a fundraiser on her behalf set for March 15 in Hartland.

When Samantha returned home last week, it wasn’t to the same home she had left. Angel had to move from her two-story townhouse in Hartland to a one-story house in Delafield to accommodate her daughter’s needs.

Before the accident, Samantha, an Arrowhead High School graduate, was attending the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee as a journalism student. She was also an artist.

Now, Samantha is confined to a 300-pound wheelchair, undergoes regular physical therapy and needs assistance continually.

Angel, who teaches art classes at Bryan Becker Clay Werks, is a single mother with three other daughters and has hired someone to come to help with Samantha three nights a week.

“Little by little, it gets a wee bit easier,” Angel said. “She’s fighting.”

“Samantha is trying to do some things. She can peck at the computer,” Angel said. And she is able to feed herself, she added.

While Samantha has feeling on the right side of her body, she only has limited feeling on the left side, including in her leg, shoulder and fingers.

While struggling with the long road of therapy, Samantha has a hard time shaking that fateful day.

“She’s down a lot,” Angel said. “This woman has made no attempt to apologize, not a word. That really bothers her. She tends to get focused on that.”

“This woman” is Anna Lewandowska of the City of Pewaukee.

Lewandowska could not be reached for comment.

Samantha was driving west on Golf Road at about 8:30 a.m. when a northbound car on Highway 83, driven by Lewandowska, hit Troyer’s car. Lewandowska drove through a red light, according to the Delafield police report.

Samantha’s car spun around from the impact; she was ejected because she was not wearing a seatbelt, police said.

To help Samantha with her recovery, Angel bought her a kitten, which Samantha named Sophie.

“I saw on television where animals are good therapy,” Angel said.

Though not a cat lover, Angel set aside her feelings because a dog would be too much to handle at this point.

Ironically, Angel said, Sophie has a spinal injury that makes her bag legs weak. The kitten is unable to jump on counters and tables – a good thing says Angel – but she is able to jump on couches and Samantha’s lap, which is also a good thing.

The playful kitten is just the tonic, as it makes her daughter laugh, Angel said.

There is also support for Samantha within the community.

Merilee Shepherd, a student of Angel’s, is organizing a fund-raiser called Support for Samantha. The event will be from 7 to 10 p.m. March 15 at Bin One Eleven, 111 E. Capitol Drive, Hartland.

The event will include wine tasting, raffle prizes and a silent auction of artwork by local artists, including Chuck Weber, Chuck Hajinian, Bryan Becker, Angel Troyer and many others.

Shepherd said she saw Samantha at Froedtert Memorial Hospital and said to herself, “I got to do something.”

Though she has never organized a fundraiser before, she said she wanted to help erase the mounting financial burden on the Troyer family.

“If I raise enough to help pay the grocery bills for the next six months, I will have done my job,” she said.

Published in Life
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