Epilogue: 'A second chance'

Maine Sunday TelegramMay 11, 2013 

The Evans family, Donald (right) holding his 14 month old daughter, Willow, his wife Rosie and son Donald III, 12, and McKenzie, 10, at their home in Searsport, Maine.

JOHN EWING — Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram

Editor's note: Read the original story here.

SEARSPORT, Maine -- The Evans family now lives in a 193-year-old house in this small bayside town. Unable to return to teaching for now, they get by on money from the airline's insurance.

Donald, who did so much to save his family, was hurt the most. He sees doctors two or three times a week. The neurological damage caused by his spinal cord injury has impaired his memory, his ability to concentrate and control his bowels and bladder. He now walks with a cane and still needs a wheelchair for longer distances.

His foot, which was mangled in the crash, has been straightened out but is still far from functional. Surgeons operated on it in Portland this month.

Rosemarie suffers from arthritis in both feet, a result of nerve damage to her spine, and she experiences constant back pain. Still, she's trying to find some "middle ground" where she can experience a fulfilling life despite the pain.

Donnie and Mckenzie have proven to be most resilient. They've recovered both physically and emotionally. Both played basketball this past winter in the town's recreation league, and they have made a lots of friends, Rosemarie said.

As often happens in families, the children are leading the parents into the community through relationships developed though school and sports. Over the past few weekends, Donnie has been helping classmates rehabilitate the courtyard at the middle school. While watching her son work, Rosemarie met a mother who heads the school's parent/teacher group, and she was invited to attend the group's next meeting.

It's a small thing, but it's a big step forward for someone who has spent nearly all her time for the past two years in hospital rooms or housebound.

Rosemarie and Donald hope that by next fall they'll be healthy enough to work as substitute teachers in local schools, although they worry that nobody will hire them because of their health problems.

Despite their obstacles they feel fortunate they are alive.

"You really do feel you have a second chance," Donald said. "We need to do something. We need to have a purpose. We just don't know what that is."

 

Tom Bell, a former Anchorage Daily News reporter, can be contacted at tbell@pressherald.com. Twitter updates: twitter.com/tombellportland.

 

 

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