Lori Gallagher’s Story

Nine Lives: Amazing Stories of Survival

Her eyes were closed, and her head rested on his back as the wind blew through her hair. It was a perfect summer evening for a motorcycle ride. Everything was just right with her boyfriend, Randy, she thought to herself as she wrapped her arms around his warm torso.

The next morning Lori Gallagher woke up confused in the hospital. All of the bones in her left arm were crushed. She had two concussions, seven fractured vertebrae and glass embedded everywhere. A drunk driver had crushed their motorcycle, killing her boyfriend immediately.

“Where is Randy?” she asked the nurses and doctors over and over.

“He didn’t make it,” they repeated.

“Well then, go get him,” she demanded.

“But he died,” the nurses and doctors said again.

It was like they were running in a loop. He was this kind of person that would have never left her alone, so she couldn’t understand why he wasn’t there. In disbelief, she kept asking where he was. When she realized he was gone, she “freaked out.” After a rough divorce and losing her oldest daughter to a brain tumor, Lori was ready for a fresh start. How could this happen again?

“I missed what was possible with him. That week we sat down and talked about getting more serious,” Lori said.

This was four years ago, and Lori is still getting her life back in pieces. Her daughter, Madison, slept at the foot of her bed every night for months after the accident. When Lori left the hospital in Austin, she was supposed to check back into the hospital in Fort Worth but never did because of her daughter. She needed to be there for her. She went back to work as a real estate agent even before she could drive. She remained the top-producing agent at her company and has for 10 years.

“After the accident, there is the immediate ‘I have got to survive,’” Lori said.

She still has a long recovery. The metal in her once crushed arm irritates the skin around it causing painful inflammations. Lori is allergic to most pain medicine and has to manage it on her own. She lives in constant pain but said she isn’t going to give up.

For 18 months, she has been working out with a trainer and completed three 5Ks this past year. She goes to therapy regularly to cope with her anxiety but knows this isn’t forever. Patience and improvement give her hope. She promised herself she will not let her tragedies define her.

“Yes, I am sad from the things that happened, but it won’t be my life,” Lori said.

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