After 2017 Accident, Family Feels Thankful For Good Life
Oct. 30, 2017, is a date that will never be forgotten by the family of Casey and Billie Pippenger of Bainville. That day, however, wasn’t an end, but rather a beginning of thankfulness for the Pippengers and their three daughters.
It was on that date that Kailin Pippenger, a high school sophomore at the time, was driving her two younger sisters, a cousin and another student to school. The vehicle suddenly hit a patch of black ice and flipped.
Billie received the news of the crash from inside the vehicle and then headed to the scene.
“Kailin actually called me and asked me to get there,” the mother remembered. “It was crazy. When we got there, looking at her, it was amazing that she called.”
Billie was relieved that everybody in the vehicle was able to talk and was coherent. No one suffered any head injuries.
“How scary as it was, we all were calm,” Billie said.
Kailin, however, told her mother that she couldn’t feel her legs. It was discovered that she suffered a spinal cord injury and she was then operated on in Minneapolis, Minn. After that, she underwent rehabilitation at Craig’s Hospital in Colorado. Both Kailin and Brecklyn suffered fractured vertebrates, but Brecklyn’s spine didn’t move. Youngest sister Miah experienced less serious injuries.
“There was a lot of crying in the beginning. It was traumatic for all of my kids,” Billie said. “We’ve seen how to persevere and make the best out of life.”
Despite being in a wheelchair, Kailin is a great model of making the most out of life. She is now attending college in Iowa and will graduate in May with degrees in biology and psychology, “Everything happens for a reason,” Kailin said. “There are so many opportunities and blessings. At times, I’m still frustrated, but I’m thankful for the opportunities.”
One of those opportunities for Kailin has been CrossFit workouts and competitions. During her first year involved in the intense fitness program, she placed fifth worldwide in her division.
“Honestly, it’s just getting back involved and being active,” Kailin said of her interest in CrossFit. “I enjoy the competitive nature of CrossFit.”
Another favorite hobby for Kailin is watching online as her sisters excel for Bainville’s volleyball and girls’ basketball squads.
“I might be a little bias, because they are my sisters, but I’m extremely proud of them,” Kailin said. “They are very dedicated. I’m very proud of both of my sisters.”
Billie says that Kailin and Miah have similar personalities. They are each shy until you get to know them. The mother describes them as lovable and hilarious.
Brecklyn is more outgoing and social. She tends to make everybody her friend.
“The one thing for all three of them is when they want something in life, they are committed,” Billie said. “They all love with their whole heart.”
When the family gathers together for the holidays, there will be plenty of love and thankfulness to celebrate.
“It’s taught me to have gratitude for what you have,” Kailin said. “I’m still very, very blessed. Make the most of what you have.”
She noted the support she received from the community and friends throughout her challenges was remarkable.
As part of a support group, they recently looked at photos from six years ago. Kaitlin said she saw the photos as heart-warming rather than being sad.
Billie noted, “Things could have been a lot different. We’re so very, very blessed. We’re very thankful. We have amazing friends and family. Life is good.”