A few months after the accident.
Candice and I met Cheryl Galante this week. This is an excerpt from an article written in NJ.Com by Craig Wolff.
Cheryl Galante learned the virtue of being still when she lost control of her car on a rainy afternoon in May. When the vehicle came to rest, still upright, it had crossed six lanes of traffic and spun around. She was facing east in the express lanes of 78 west, staring over a spent air bag at what looked like smoke rushing from below the crumpled hood. Her thumb twitched on the seat belt latch.
She heard a voice, a man at her door, telling her, “Don’t move. Be still.”
“I got to get out of here,” she said. Her mouth was dry.
In a haze, she could not decipher the face except that it was kind. She made out a black T-shirt and grabbed at it.
“I’m going to be okay, yes? I’m going to be okay?”
He placed one hand, then another, on her neck, and said, “Please, you must be still.”
Nothing made sense to her, except for his voice, calm and unyielding, and these sure hands, which restrained her, and cradled her. For nearly 30 minutes until an ambulance arrived, while nothing indicated a devastating injury, his hands stayed right there.
The discovery was made later at University Hospital in Newark that she had a bilateral fracture of the C2 vertebra in her neck, known as a “hangman’s break.”
Had she tried to flee the car or merely been allowed to turn in her frenzy, her doctors now say, the odds are she would be a quadriplegic, or she would have died.
Cheryl Galante, 52 years old, from Maplewood, was not pulled from a burning building. No one shielded her from bullets or stepped into the path of a speeding train. She was spared by an act heroic in its simplicity.
….From inside her halo, she said, the world appears filled with the helter-skelter of people rushing about their lives. She is grateful for an opportunity her accident gave her, to be stilled for a time, and to watch. The universe has slowed for her, she said.
To read the full article and to watch a 2 minute video click here.