We met the day in August 2004 that we both moved into a dorm as freshman at Muhlenberg College in Allentown, PA. A short three weeks later we shared our first kiss and the rest is, as they say, history.
After 3½ fantastic years together we approached our May 2008 graduation day ready for “real life” to begin. Steve was set to enter the banking world while Jacy had landed a dream job through AmeriCorps to be a team leader for Habitat For Humanity. We had plans for our careers as well as our lives together, but just hours after receiving our diplomas we were thrust into a world of terror, uncertainty, and overwhelming sadness.
About halfway back to her childhood home in Lancaster, PA the car carrying Jacy and her parents was struck head-on by a tractor trailer as both entered an intersection with green lights. The truck had swerved to try to avoid a man coming from the intersecting road who attempted to turn left through a red light. That man was talking on his phone at the time.
Jacy’s parents never left the scene but an astounding series of fortunate events and unequalled medical care kept Jacy alive in the crumpled car, the ambulance ride, and through 8 ½ hours of surgery. She was given just a 10% chance of survival as she lay comatose and nearly unrecognizable in intensive care that first night. Steve spent 12 hours a day by her side through four months of hospitalization. Jacy’s laundry list of injuries have managed to heal through time (and a healthy dose of titanium rods, plates, and screws) but due to a traumatic brain injury she is unable to use her left arm or lower leg and has minor lingering cognitive issues.
Less than a year after that life-altering tragedy Jacy began to campaign for a cell phone ban in her native Pennsylvania. This unexpectedly triggered an avalanche of interview requests and public appearances and since April 2010 Jacy has been on The Oprah Winfrey Show, a guest of Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon at the United Nations, a “Hero Among Us” in People Magazine, a speaker at Maria Shriver’s Women’s Conference, on NPR’s Car Talk, and been featured in dozens of articles, television news pieces, and press conferences nationwide. You may also have seen her on TLC’s Say Yes To The Dress.
It was early in this amazing journey that we realized our story could impact and potentially save lives and since June 2010 we have spoken at over 100 events across the country to nearly 100,000 people, encouraging the public to make safer choices, companies to develop and enforce cell phone policies, and legislators to put in place the necessary laws to protect the public.