PROVO — Maddison Jones was involved in a car accident in October that left her in a coma.
Her story is one of courage and faith, her family says. Jones is now walking, and each step takes her closer toward recovery.
When Jones arrived in the rehab unit of Utah Valley Regional Medical Center two months ago, she was not able to move any of her limbs. But her strong spirit, combined with the love and prayers of strangers from around the world, have motivated her beyond expectations, family members say.
“The progress that she’s made has been phenomenal. Every day, she’s doing something new that she couldn’t do the day before,” said physical therapist Dan Stevenson.
Jones, 22, has had to learn how to do everything again.
On Oct. 10, Jones suffered multiple injuries in a car accident in Utah County. She was in the passenger seat when the vehicle she was riding in was hit broadside. She had broken ribs, punctured lungs, her liver was lacerated and she lost a kidney. But the worst was a traumatic brain injury. Jones spent nine weeks in the intensive care unit.
“When she came here, she wasn’t moving either one of her legs,” said Merilee McClellan, Jones' mother.
Jones works through pain, frustration and exhaustion. “Maddi’s a fighter,” said Stevenson. Her therapists say she has such a strong spirit that, for them, her progress is deeply personal.
“It’s fun to be able to develop a relationship with your patient and their family … and to pray for them,” he said.
Support continues to flow in from more than 9,000 Pray4Mad Facebook followers:
"She is such an amazingly strong girl. Go Maddi! You've got thousands of people from all around the world cheering you on!' wrote Kristi Kerr Grover.
"I am so excited for the progress she is making. I hope to meet this beautiful young lady some day," wrote Carol Maldonado Langford.
"God bless you and your family. Prayers heading your way from the East Coast. I live in VA," wrote William Wheeler.
McClellan said these comments bring her strength.
“We are the beneficiaries of their love and prayers,” she said. “It’s been an amazing experience.”
For McClellan, Jones' daily progress and the support of her therapists build her up.
“There’s never been a lack of hope,” McClellan said. “It’s because of her. She’s just working so hard. And them, they’re miracle workers.”
Slowly, Jones' personality is emerging. Her mother said she is starting to laugh.
“She’s learning how to eat and drink. Eventually, she’ll be able to talk again, we’re sure of it. … We’re sure of it,” her mother said with a laugh.
Her therapists recognize her courage. Stevenson said they always look forward to working with Jones.
“We’re always competing for who gets to work with her that day," Stevenson said. "I do feel like we’re friends.”
Jones and her therapists still have a lot of work to do, but her family members say they continue to be grateful for all of the good wishes and prayers on her behalf.
Jones' mom is with her every day. McClellan said she has never lost hope. Jones can now blow a kiss, and her mother said it is to all of those who have sent so many messages of love.
McClellan said she would never have chosen this for her daughter, but she has learned about strength and patience.
“Some days, I felt weak. Some days, I felt like my fear was bigger than my faith. But, in the end, faith wins," she said with a smile.