A 23-year-old Vermont woman who was on a tour boat in the Bahamas when it exploded and killed another passenger said she is proud of herself for how far she’s come in her recovery since losing both of her legs in the tragedy.
“Instead of feeling embarrassed, I feel proud of myself for being able to put up the fight,” Stefanie Schaffer, who had been vacationing in June 2018 with her mother, stepfather and sister at the time of the explosion, told SWNS. “I never thought I would wear a swimsuit or shorts again but now it really doesn’t bother me.”
Schaffer, who had been seated in front of the woman who was killed in the explosion, was taken to a hospital via pick-up truck in George Town nearly 40 minutes away, according to the news outlet. There, doctors told the family they would have to amputate her legs below the knee. At the time, her relatives described Schaffer as an avid, outgoing dancer.
Schaffer was then airlifted to Broward Health Medical Center in Fort Lauderdale, where she was placed in a medically induced coma for a month, and allegedly given a 50 percent chance of survival due to her extensive injuries. When she woke, she told SWNS that she had no recollection of even being in the Bahamas, she just knew that her back was broken and her legs were gone.
After spending a year learning how to walk with prosthetics, Schaffer underwent a second surgery to amputate above the knees on both legs in hopes of causing less pain while using her new adaptive limbs.
She is unable to walk without assistance but is determined to regain her strength and remain active.
“It’s important to know that it does get better,” she told SWNS. “It’s awful to lose a part of the body that you’ve lived in for however many years. It’s OK to grieve the loss of your limbs. I grieved for them almost like I would grieve for the loss of a loved one. But you start to love your new legs, your prosthetics.”
She also said the support she received and connecting with other amputees has helped her build confidence.
“I’m proud of my body for surviving,” she said.