TODAY   |  November 17, 2012

Lauren Scruggs credits family, faith with quick recovery

“My community of people around me and the support of my friends and my family has just been amazing,” said Scruggs, 23, who walked into a plane’s propeller last year and lost her left hand and eye. Scruggs and her family sat down with TODAY’s Erica Hill.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> nearly one year ago, lauren scruggs was badly hurt in a tragic accident. the 123-year-old walked into a plane's propeller, losing her left hand and an eye. she opens up about the story in her new book, and we'll talk with lauren , her parents and her twin sister in just a moment. but first, natalie morales looks at lauren 's life after the accident.

>> reporter: just a year ago, lauren scruggs ' future was bright. the beautiful girl her friends called lo-lo had big plans and even bigger dreams as she pursued a career in fashion.

>> i am lauren scruggs with lo-lo mag.

>> reporter: but in one awful moment in december 2011 , everything changed. she found herself lying on a tarmac fighting for her life after being struck by a moving airplane propeller. lauren 's mother sheryl .

>> i could see the plane and i could see lauren just lying face down. all i had at that point was prayer. that's all i could do. i wasn't really sure what was happening. i didn't know if she was alive. i couldn't see where the blood was coming from. she was laying in a big pool of blood.

>> reporter: nearly a year after that horrific night, lauren is doing well and adjusting to her new challenges. now what is your new normal?

>> my new normal is just the way my body is now with one eye and one hand and going through healing.

>> reporter: it's been a long road for lauren , filled with months of daily physical therapy and learning to live with her prosthetic eye and left hand .

>> reporter: you say in the book that the hardest thing for you was really losing the hand. when you were going through the process of getting fit for prosthetics. that's really when it hit you.

>> yeah. because i'm thinking, i'm having to get this and i never would have thought that, you know?

>> reporter: this is your second home?

>> it is.

>> reporter: lauren took me to athletes performance, where she works out, building her strength. she says working out has been key to her recovery.

>> let's see if you've got some game, natalie.

>> reporter: she even challenged know a push-up competition.

>> she's a competitor, this one.

>> reporter: lauren scruggs stands as a lesson in fortitude and resilience. she faces her new challenges with grace and a determination to make the most of her second chance at life.

>> lauren scruggs is here along with her parents sheryl and jeff and her twin sister brittany.

>> good morning.

>> it's such an inspiring story. we see you and all of the progress you've made. it hasn't even been a year yet. that's a lot to go through, and to be at this point where you seem to be doing so well. you seem to be thriving. what got you here, though? how do you motivate yourself to get up in the morning?

>> well, i think it's mostly just my faith in the lord and i know that he has a great purpose in it. he's just poured out his love on me and grace on me and saved my life, and has allow know thrive in life after this, and also just my community of people around me and the support of my friends and my family. it's just been amazing.

>> you're a very tight-knit group. you talk about a purpose for this. sheryl , i know you wrote about this, writing deep down i knew that god had known this accident was going to happen, that he could have stopped it, but didn't. so god must have a purpose. when something tragic happens, everybody seems to have that question of why. and they're not always able to reconcile it. do you feel that you've found what the purpose was in this?

>> absolutely. you know, god doesn't give us any more than we can handle. and the one thing -- one verse that i stand on is god can do immeasurably more than you could ever ask or imagine. when i relate that to this accident, i know that god didn't give her any more than she could handle and that he's going to do a lot with her life. so, you know, you just have to believe in god and what he can do. you just have to go along with that.

>> that positivity.

>> i don't question it.

>> and the positivity has really helped, too. i know you've all encouraged lauren over the past year. when you took some of your first steps and how you encouraged her to go farther and do more. you don't actually remember that moment, do you?

>> no, i don't.

>> it was early in the hospital and her physical therapist wanted her to get up and walk and they asked her to take 20 steps and we were just all pulling for her. it was really an answer to prayer that she would surpass what any of our expectations were. and we walked down the hall and then she said 30. and we're going, well, what does that mean? 30 steps. that just kind of defines lauren . she's so courageous. so we were just grateful for that moment.

>> brittany, as twins, we always hear stories about twins and how you have this bond that's indescribable to those that are singletons. but it's really fascinating to me. you lost your left eye , lauren . your left eye was actually twitching for how long after?

>> it was actually the period of time where we hadn't decided whether she was actually going to have her eye removed, so it was about two weeks that we had to make that decision. it was for about two weeks. really until her eye surgery that it was twitching about every 20 seconds during the day.

>> did you two talk about that at the time or did you wait to tell her until after?

>> no, i didn't talk to her about it at the time. it was early on in the hospital, so she wasn't quite with it. i don't know that she would have understood what was going on. it was definitely something we all discussed.

>> she called me and said mom, you're not going to believe this, but my left eye is twitching every 20 seconds. and it won't stop. and it did that for about two weeks.

>> that is really wild. you've been really friendly with bethany hamilton . she wrote the forward to your book. how important has that friendship been for you having someone to relate to?

>> it's a blessing because she's someone that's around my age and we can relate in that way and i can ask her, bethany, how do you do this with only one arm? she just prays with me a lot and we just encourage each other emotionally, so it's been a wonderful friendship, and i'm so grateful that she reached out to me.

>> and she taught you to do your hair with one hand, i understand. which is a big thing for any woman. what an important step that is for you. really a pleasure to have you all here. keep us posted, because we know great things are ahead.

>> thank you.

>>> once again, the name of the book is "still lolo."

>>> up next, thanksgiving just five