Krista Danner thanks UNA for all their help!

Krista’s Story

Life can change in a split second, as it did 17 years ago for Krista Danner. She was on her way to high school, when she was involved in a major car accident, thrown head first through the windshield and barely survived the crash. After weeks in a coma, when she awoke, her brain had sustained a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). Recovery for Krista took years of rehab, including having to retrain her brain. She had to relearn how to walk, talk and feed herself. She remembers how lovingly she was treated at Health South, like it was yesterday. It seems like yesterday for her, and in fact, while we were chatting, she thought the accident was only 9 years ago. In many ways, Krista said she still feels like a teenager, longing to drive a car and wishing she were still in a relationship with her high school boyfriend.  She feels stuck in a time warp.

With limited use of her left arm combined with her traumatic brain injury, it’s been a rough road for Krista to achieve independent living. It’s been impossible for her to get a job that is rewarding. Several years ago, she was very unhappy, as the only job she could find was assembling bubbles with other TBI people. She felt humiliated and unfulfilled. She didn’t want to be in a day program, lumped in with people with far fewer mental and physical abilities.

At that time, a couple of Resource Coordinators noticed she wasn’t happy.  She made the transition to United Needs & Abilities as they listened to her needs and created a personalized care plan to help her achieve her goals for independent living.

Krista credits her current happiness and independence from utilizing the services provided by United Needs & Abilities. They helped her transition from a group home to an apartment. Although she still needs caregivers, she has been able to enroll into WorWic Community College. Her UNA caregivers provide the transportation, school mentor, tutors and job coaches. It’s the family atmosphere that she loves. If she is able, she hopes to become an Occupational Therapist or Speech Therapist one day.  Right now, she takes one class at a time at WorWic.

UNA also provides opportunities for her to have some fun. She has gone on group trips to the Poconos, the Outer Banks and day trips to the movies and Ocean City. One day, she hopes to go to Disney World in Florida.

Krista starts a part-time job volunteering at a retail store to see how she can manage it along with her class as WorWic. If all works out, she will move into a paying job there. In her own words, “I am fun-loving and I make it through each day with the people I have in my life. Life is what you make it. Go for your dreams”.

As told to Molly Hilligoss, Editor