When 18 year old Stevie walked across the high school graduation stage, there wasn't a dry eye in the crowd. Family, friends and classmates saw her as an inspiration and a student who wasn't going to let anything hold her back.
Less than a year earlier, Stevie was riding in a car with three other teens, when one of them tossed a water bottle out the window at another car. That car gave chase and in the high speeds, the car Stevie was in, crashed into a tree. Stevie's best friend died and she received a spinal cord injury, burst intestines, a broken left shoulder and a collapsed artery in her leg.
After a month in the hospital and with little ability to even transfer from her wheelchair to a bed, Stevie finished her senior year.
"It was February when I went to the Rehabilitation Institute of Michigan's Center for Spinal Cord Injury Recovery and it was incredible. Most programs are like, 'you're in a chair, deal with it.' Not the Rehab Institute. Their approach is "okay, so you're in a chair... let's get the most out of it, let's push."
Her accident was six years ago and Stevie can't believe how far she's come... graduating with honors, walking across the stage, and finishing college.
"The staff at the Rehabilitation Institute of Michigan were the first people to see me as Stevie, not the girl in the chair or who had the accident. They really gave me the confidence to tackle all obstacles."
"I want to help them make positive life choices and know that can overcome or do anything they put their minds to."