I Was Hit By A Drunk Driver

They say what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Kayla Struck would likely agree. After a car crash on the night of her 22nd birthday celebration rendered her dominant arm paralyzed, the now 23-year-old is basically learning how to start over. When a drunk driver hit the vehicle Kayla had been a passenger in at full speed – ejecting her through the dashboard, despite having worn a seatbelt – no one predicted the resilient young woman would live to tell the tale. First responders believed she was dead at the scene; but after suffering from a broken neck, clavicle, and wrist, today, Kayla looks like she’s back to normal. Her new life, though, is anything but. “[My independence] is gone,” Kayla says, sporting a black sling lifting her now-useless right arm. “I feel like I have a child again. I have to have somebody assisting me at all times.” Without the function of her right arm, Kayla finds most tasks to be too difficult to accomplish independently. Everything from using the bathroom to tying her hair back, is no longer manageable by herself. And despite Occupational Therapy intended to strengthen the functionality of her left arm, she finds it nearly impossible to write. But this isn’t the first time Kayla’s been met with, and endured, adversity in her life. Kayla credits the bullying she’d experienced early on in life with being the reason for strong character, thick skin, and will to trudge ahead. “At school, I was bullied tremendously from 4th grade all the way up until my senior year in high school.” Mocked for many years over her weight, her constant, daily, torment resulted in a number of the then-high-schooler’s suicide attempts. After surviving not one but four incidents, Kayla embarked on an anti-bullying tour - where she was able to reach other victims of torment, and assure them that it really does get better. Through this, Kayla realized she was strong enough to overcome anything. Even this. “I just keep telling myself you’ve been through so much in your life, you’re not gonna let this define you. You’re just gonna keep on going, and stay as strong as you can be. I tell myself every day that this isn’t gonna stop you from living your life.” Tune in to Kayla’s episode this Wednesday, March 18th, on For the Hayters to learn more about Kayla’s accident – and recovery.

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