It's graduation season and thousands of students are excited about finishing high school, but for one Oklahoma senior, it's more than just walking across the stage to receive her diploma.
It was a huge milestone for Deborah Ede's three year journey after an accident paralyzed her body. Eighteen-year-old Deborah loves to share her story with anyone who will listen. She talks with church groups or at youth events, she just wants to tell the world that she is a walking miracle.
Three years ago, her life changed forever. "I call it the accident," said Deborah Ebe.
Ever since she was a little girl, Deborah was a devoted athlete working on becoming a power tumbler and gymnast. And then tragedy struck.
"I had gotten up on the trampoline and was doing a double front pike or a double front flip in simpler terms, with a 180 degree twist out at the end and somehow I got lost in the air. I was 30 feet above the trampoline and I landed on my head. I broke my neck instantly. I woke up on the trampoline bed and instantly this shooting and stabbing pain was going through me," said Deborah Ebe.
"At this point I started putting everything together and I asked my coach if I was paralyzed and he said he didn't know and to stay calm. Everything's going to be okay and I couldn't keep it together. I started crying and I called out to God, saying God help me, God help me just over and over again."
Deborah was rushed Tulsa's St. Francis hospital where doctors told her family that she had broken her neck between the C5 and C6 vertebrae. She was paralyzed and would never walk again.
Those first few days in the hospital were a blur.
Once moving from ICU, her mom, dad and older brothers took care of her every need until one day, when her brothers were tickling her feet, something happened. She moved her left big toe.
"That was probably one of the best days of my life. I moved it and I knew from that point on I was going to be able to walk. I knew that was God and he was going to heal my completely from that day forward," said Deborah Ebe.
Soon she was transferred to Craig Rehabilitation hospital in Denver to begin therapy. Being an athlete, her determination was remarkable, spending hours each day with the therapists. At first, she had little ability to move her body but slowly over time, she began to make great strides.
Her goal was to walk out of that hospital on her own. Two and a half months after breaking her neck, Deborah was able to do just that.
"I had times where I asked God why would you let something like this happen but looking back now over the past 3 years, there have been so many little things and connections that God has done from that time and from that experience to where today I've been able to help others and inspire others with my story and it's something I hope to continue to do," said Deborah Ebe.
Deborah recently graduated as one of the salutatorians of her class and plans to go to Oklahoma State University in the fall and major in pre-med with hopes of one day becoming a physical therapist.