As her deeply religious family gets set to celebrate Easter, the parents of injured model Lauren Scruggs are giving thanks that their daughter is alive to celebrate the holiday.
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“Four months ago, we were just praying that God would spare her life,’’ Jeff Scruggs, Lauren’s father, told TODAY.
The 23-year-old model and fashion blogger from Plano, Texas, has made a remarkable recovery after walking into a spinning plane propeller in darkness on Dec. 3, 2011, after going to view Christmas lights in the Dallas area. She had her left hand severed and lost her left eye, which was replaced by a prosthetic one. She is expected to get a prosthetic arm in about a month, according to her parents, and has already returned to blogging and tweeting about fashion.
Scruggs reached a settlement last week with the insurance company representing the plane and the pilot that was not publicly disclosed by the family but was reported to be more than $1 million. Scruggs’ parents are grateful that their daughter has returned to health after they were told by her neurosurgeon that the possibility existed that she may no longer be able to speak in complete sentences and could have a whole new personality.
“That we can go to church together and worship this Easter and just look that we’ve got our family together and that she’s got the same personality and the same spunk that she always had and that same inspiring spirit — it’s just going to be an Easter like never before,’’ Jeff Scruggs said.
Throughout the ordeal, the couple did not question why this happened to their daughter.
“I never questioned God in any of it,’’ said Cheryl Scruggs, Lauren’s mother. “I don’t feel any anger towards God or anything and if anything, it just provided me with strength and peace…through this whole journey.”
“I’ve never questioned God,’’ Jeff said. “I think the thing is God tells us his ways are higher than our ways and he’s got a plan for her life and that doesn’t mean his plan is going to line up with what my plan is. We’re just faithful in knowing that God is faithful and Lauren’s going to have…a different life that what we planned.”
Despite her physical injuries, Lauren, nicknamed “Lolo,’’ has maintained her sunny disposition and fighting spirit.
“I pray that she’ll know her beauty comes from within,’’ Jeff said. “She’s got so much enthusiasm for life and a beautiful smile, and that encourages me, and I know it encourages others as well.’’
“For everything that she’s been through and the journey that she and us are still on, she’s doing remarkable,’’ Cheryl said. “She’s a fighter. She’s concentrating pretty much on her rehabilitation at this point, and she’s healing. She has a lot of strength, she has a lot of courage, and tons of determination.
“We would not have chosen this, but she wants to inspire other people, so that’s a big thing.’’
The Scruggs were overwhelmed by the outpouring of support from friends, family and strangers in the aftermath of the accident. Cheryl said she “didn’t cook for 10 weeks’’ and received a steady stream of inspiring text messages as well as comments on the page she created to update Lauren’s recovery on CaringBridge.org. When they were at Lauren’s bedside for weeks at a time during her recovery at Parkland Hospital in Dallas, friends helped maintain their home by mowing the lawn, doing the laundry and more.
“People just did everything for us,’’ Jeff said. “Everything you can imagine, we didn’t have to worry about any of that. Just friends just showing up with their presence and their prayers and all that stuff, it’s so powerful and when you’re going through something like this.’’
Cheryl would regularly update the CaringBridge.org site with Lauren’s progress. As much as it was therapeutic for her, it also had a more profound effect on strangers than she had initially considered.
“What I realized I didn’t know was happening was that it began to encourage other people as well, and so for me that’s what was so powerful - the encouragement that it could bring to other people’s lives,’’ she said.
Lauren will be writing a book about her experience, titled “Still Lolo,” that will be published by Tyndale Momentum in November, according to a report by People.com.
“This is going to be a truly inspiring book for anyone who has faced adversity themselves or struggled with the value our society places on physical beauty,’’ publisher Jan Harris said in a statement.
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