Teen succeeding seven years after freak fork accident
All this week, we're sharing incredible stories of people who beat the odds and survived the unthinkable.
Meghan Butler was a fifth grader when a hot dog fork got lodged in the front of her face in a freak accident. Her brain swelled and many thought she would not make it through the night.
Meghan arrived at Methodist Hospital in critical condition that day seven years ago. Doctors removed part of her skull to make room for her swollen brain. Her odds for survival were grim.
Cards of encouragement decorated her room and her family prayed. She stayed in the hospital for more than two months.
Those who saw the accident had a hard time believing what happened.
"I never seen anybody put a fork in her head," said one witness.
It happened at an apartment complex on the east side of Indianapolis. A boy lost his grip on a twirling hot dog fork and it impaled Meghan above her eyes.
Today, Meghan is 18 years old and her memory of what happened are fragments of what she's been told.
"They say it went right through the front and stopped in the back and my whole left side is...I have left side weakness, my whole left side, and I wear a brace," she said.
She worked to get out of the wheelchair, then from a full leg brace down to a shorter one that now supports her ankle.
"I got teased a lot," Meghan said. "They would talk about the way I walk, they would mimic the way I walk."
It was humiliating.
Meghan hoped, in time, students would forget the differences.
"I've been through a lot and I don't feel, like, 'Why me?' I just feel, like, 'Why don't people understand?'," she said.
Still, Meghan stayed in school, tracking with her class.
"I don't consider myself disabled, I consider myself able with a 'dis' at the end, because I can do stuff, I just take time to do it. Takes a little more," she said.
Her support at home was solid.
"We didn't allow any negativity from anybody, even in herself, so that that determination, constantly feeding her positive," said Meghan's aunt, Tamera Summers.
"I cried a lot," Meghan said.
But she says it also toughened her up.
"Yeah, I became a really stronger person," Meghan said.
So much so, that this spring, Meghan did what no one predicted - she graduated high school.
"It was a thrill, just a thrill to see her walk across that stage," Summers said. "It's just exciting to see, even though people said...the doctors thought that she wouldn't make it that she's made it."
"I am so happy, because I finished a big goal that I always wanted to complete and now I can complete another one, like going to college," Meghan said.
This summer, she is helping care for her nephew, before starting Ivy Tech this fall, pursuing a career in medical coding.
"They told my mom I probably wouldn't make it through the night. Well, I'm here today," Meghan said. "Nothing can stop me. I feel like I am a rock star."
Meghan says she is doing so well because three things came together perfectly - the skill of her doctors, the support of her family and her faith in God.