Riley nurse grateful for miracle recovery - 13 WTHR Indianapolis

Riley nurse grateful for miracle recovery

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Rebecca Overman Rebecca Overman
Overman was seriously injured in a golf cart accident last summer. Overman was seriously injured in a golf cart accident last summer.
She spent months in the hospital recovering from the injury. (Laura Overman photo) She spent months in the hospital recovering from the injury. (Laura Overman photo)
She was eventually able to celebrate a birthday with family. (Laura Overman photo) She was eventually able to celebrate a birthday with family. (Laura Overman photo)
She has since returned to her job as an oncology nurse at Riley Hospital. She has since returned to her job as an oncology nurse at Riley Hospital.
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    An Indianapolis nurse is preparing to run in the Mini Marathon Saturday, nine months after suffering serious brain injuries in an accident at a children's camp.More >>
    An Indianapolis nurse is preparing to run in the Mini Marathon Saturday, nine months after suffering serious brain injuries in an accident at a children's camp.More >>
INDIANAPOLIS -

Nine months ago, an Indianapolis woman was nearly killed in an accident while volunteering at a summer camp.

Rebecca Overman miraculously survived, but it's been a long recovery, full of ups and downs. But one woman she met along the way inspired her to do something most people only dream of doing.

A picture perfect day at the Indianapolis Zoo. In the middle of it all, Overman is hand-in-hand with her niece and nephews.

Nine months ago, this day seemed impossible.

"I shouldn't have lived. I shouldn't have recovered. I shouldn't be walking," Rebecca said.

On August 1, 2013, Rebecca, who is a nurse at Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health, volunteered to help at a Riley summer camp.

She and four other nurses were injured when their golf cart flipped over. Rebecca was critically injured.

"I hit my head back here, but whipped my head rocking, all the injury was in the right frontal lobe and so much swelling," she said.

Her skull was fractured in three places. Medics flew her to IU Health Methodist Hospital via Lifeline, barely alive.

Family and friends rushed to her side, including sister-in-law Chelsea Overman.

Chelsea recalls the difficult reality the family were dealing with.

"We didn't' know if she was going to make it," she said.

Rebecca stayed in a coma for four weeks.

Her sister, Laura Overman, documented each step of the way. Anxious crowds in the waiting room, family standing by her bed, and even a lighter moment - Laura painting her toes.

When Rebecca woke up, her long hair had been cut off and her head was a maze of stitches and staples. Her muscles atrophied from weeks without use.

She struggled with a traumatic brain injury, relearning how to walk, talk, even eat.

WATCH: Rebecca's Remarkable Recovery

As Rebecca's smile returned, the nieces and nephews were finally able to visit her in the hospital.

Rebecca spent part of her recovery at a rehabilitation facility in Michigan. While there, she asked staff members to introduce her to another professional women, successfully recovering from a traumatic brain injury.

That's when she met Andrea Vellinga. Vellinga barely survived the State Fair stage collapse nearly three years ago.

"She talked to me and it was the first time I had hope. For a while I think I was just, I had a bad accident, I'm gonna have to heal, this is annoying. Seeing her do well and talking to her and she told me she was jogging," Rebecca said.

At that point, Rebecca was barely walking, but Andrea's progress help plant a seed.

"She said she was training for the Mini, so when I learned how to walk, I kept thinking, 'Andrea is jogging, maybe I can jog'," said Rebecca.

Six months after the accident, Rebecca was finally strong enough to move back home.

She hit the gym, working out to regain strength. And running, with the Mini on her mind.

"When the running gets really hard, because it does, I tell myself, 'Rebecca, in September you couldn't walk. In October, you were in a wheelchair. Who cares how fast you are running? You're running. Be thankful'," she said.

Rebecca's sister Laura is not surprised by her sister's determination.

"It's an inspiration to me that she can go through all the trauma she did and still press on and it makes me double-check what I complain about on a day-to-day basis," Laura said.

Rebecca just recently returned to work as an oncology nurse at Riley Hospital.

She's glad to be back.

"For the first time in eight months, it's not all about me. 'How am I doing, what meds am I taking?' I am getting to care for other families and patients, which I have always loved but now I feel more thankful for it," Rebecca said.

She will realize just how far she's come when she crosses that finish line on race day.

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