On July 5, 2023

Stephanie Schaffer speaks in Ludlow


Stephanie Schaffer ended her “Finding New Roads Tour” in Ludlow last week.   

Schaffer is from Rutland and her story begins in the summer of 2018 when her family had planned a summer vacation to the Bahamas.  They had three glorious days together as a family.  On the fourth day Steffanie’s family had planned a boat tour to the island of Exuma; to visit the swimming pigs; one of the Bahamas most famous attractions.  But this trip did not turn out to be the fun day the family had planned.  

The boat they were traveling on exploded three short minutes after departure.  The explosion occurred directly under Steffanie’s seat.  She does not recall the events from the explosion to one month later when she awoke from a coma in a hospital in Florida and was told she had lost both of her legs.

That her spine had shattered and she was paralyzed.  Her organs were failing and her brain was bruised.  She was in for the fight of her life. 

Schaffer fought — and she fought hard.  She has to be fitted for prosthetic legs and continues to work rehabilitation with every effort she has.  She has endured over 40 surgeries since 2018 and is currently living in California after finding a clinic that specializes in intensive rehabilitation for those with spinal cord injuries and paralysis like hers.

She published a book called, “Without Any Warning, Casualties of a Caribbean Vacation.” Schaffer shared her story to a crowd at Benson’s Chevrolet in Ludlow and shared a copy of her book with those in attendance. The North Country Chevy Dealers, of which Benson’s Chevrolet, is connected with, partnered with Schaffer and gave her a new Chevrolet Equinox in 2019 with hand controls allowing her to drive on her own. Allowing her to visit family and friends, to drive to her physical therapy appointments, and to simply drive with the windows down and enjoy music playing and find new roads.  

Schaffer is an ambassador to the American Red Cross.  She has shared her story with numerous radio and TV stations. She is now able to ride her hand cycle independently and has learned how to walk her dog from her wheelchair.  She hopes to ski this winter with adaptive equipment.

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