We are pleased to share this winning essay by Makynsie Bancroft for our 2019 Regis L. Mullen Accident & Injury Scholarship.
It was my mom’s birthday, September 20, 2009, when we were on our way home from visiting my dad for the weekend. I was sick that night, throwing up into an orange plastic cup. At about 8:45, as “Party in the USA” played on the radio, a sixteen year old girl who was texting and driving crossed the defined yellow lines and hit our car head on.
As I try to comprehend what just took place, I looked down to see the orange plastic cup shattered in my hand, with the pieces all over the floorboard. I then looked to my right to see my three year old brother screaming, and although the left side of my body was broken in four places, I used my right side to unbuckle him and set him free.
In the next instant, I looked forward and saw the shattered windshield, deflated airbags, and my unconscious mom and fourteen year old sister in the front seats. As I try to shake them awake, I’m not aware that my sister’s airway is blocked and my mom is internally decapitated. I remember trying to shake my mom awake, and failing for reasons that weren’t clear at the time.
All I remembered for the next week is the pain. The pain of the cervical collar pressing on my broken clavicle. The pain of the driver’s seat trapping my broken leg. The pain of the doctors extending my shattered elbow for an x-ray. The pain of the stitches and the sore muscles and the surgeries. The pain of being told that my mom didn’t make it.
Because of the negligent, texting driver, my entire world was turned upside-down, inside-out, and in every other possible way. Losing my mom, and losing her at such a young age, beat me down financially, as well as mentally and emotionally. My mom was a responsible woman, and for every kid she had, she increased her life insurance by $100,000, amounting to $300,000. I would be all set, if I was ever allowed access to any of that money. Her husband, my stepdad, took all of this money, and neither I nor my sister ever saw a penny of it.
Social security kicked in soon after, but my dad was a single parent so all of this money was put toward bills and groceries every month, and rightfully so. He worked 24 hour shifts every third day, leaving my sister and I alone on those nights, so I became very independent at a very young age.
I have always valued education and have never settled for achieving less than the best. This year, I will graduate at the top of my class. Through physical therapy and a lot of practice, I got back to playing soccer, which I absolutely love.
My accident and the struggles that followed also led me to participate in a lot of philanthropy and volunteering. I know what it’s like to go through the toughest of times, both mentally and financially, so anything that I can do to brighten someone’s day is something I do gladly and thoughtlessly, every single time.
I’ve also grown to be very responsible. I’ve worked since I was 14 at a grocery store and a campground, earning money to buy mostly everything for myself. As far as finances, my family has enough to worry about, so I buy a lot of my lunches, toiletries, clothes, supplies, and whatever else I may need.
Providing so much for myself has definitely built my character and taught me important values, but it has also made saving for college difficult. I know that it would hurt my mom to see me struggle, because she did everything in her power to prepare for the worst. If she were alive today, she would have done everything in her power to keep me afloat. She would never have allowed me to fear being in debt.
Despite my struggles and being a victim to someone else’s negligence, I’ve set great goals for myself to attend Indiana University and medical school, and to become a physician. Although I hated my doctors at the time, I’ve realized that I want nothing more than to become one of them. I want to help people in traumatic situations like me to be saved, heal, and grow, and I will do everything humanly possible to ensure that happens.