Four year-old Amelia is not just an average little girl. Her parents, Greg and Teresa Zearfoss, emergency responders, and medical experts believe her to be a “miracle” child.
Amelia suffered traumatic injuries from a tragic accident earlier this year that could have ended her life or left her paralyzed.
“All of the surgeons said she fell into a one percent survival and recovery category,” Teresa recalled. “She’s a miracle.”
The accident happened on Thursday, March 16. What started out as a normal day for Teresa and her four year-old twin daughters, Amelia and Bailey, ended in tragedy.
Teresa traveled to work from Ruby to Sumter like she did each day. Her twin daughters were enrolled in a 4k program near her job so they could be close to their mother.
Teresa said she and her daughters were leaving Sumter heading home that particular day. Then, all of a sudden, the driver of a car ran a stop sign and hit their SUV on the driver side, where Bailey was strapped securely in her car seat.
“All I could see at the time of the impact was white,” she said. “In that instance, when we started flipping, God gave me peace.
“Not once did I question him,” she remarked. “I knew it was going to be alright.”
Teresa remembered emergency responders cutting her and Amelia out of the vehicle. Amelia was unconscious, but she and Bailey remained conscious.
Teresa said she and Amelia were airlifted to Prisma Health Children’s Hospital in Columbia. Bailey was sent to a local hospital, where she was treated for a broken arm.
“My husband and my parents were doing all they could to make sure Bailey was taken care of at home,” Teresa said.
Teresa remained at the hospital with Amelia, who was in a medically induced coma. The surgeons told her that Amelia was “internally decapitated.” That meant that her internal ligaments connecting her vertebrae to her skull were severed, and she could have been left paralyzed.
She said the surgeons performed a surgery in which they were able to reattach Amelia’s skull to her spinal cord.
Teresa said all of the staff and surgeons were “wonderful.”
Amelia was eventually moved to the Levine Children’s Hospital in Charlotte for rehabilitation.
After a total of 49 days in the hospital and rehab, Amelia came home Wednesday, May 3. She was escorted home by Sandhill, High Point, and the Pageland fire departments and the Chesterfield County Sheriff’s Office.
Amelia has to wear a neck and back brace for five to six months to keep everything stiff because she can’t move her head from side to side or up and down.
Teresa said her family is truly blessed. She said Amelia is expected to make a full recovery, cognitively and physically.
She said the firefighters and state troopers who responded to the accident constantly check up on them to see how Amelia is doing.
“They’re amazed at her progress,” Teresa said.
Amelia and Bailey will enter kindergarten at Ruby Elementary in the fall.
Snow-N-Go Freeze Shack and Beth Stepp sponsored a benefit for Amelia Sunday, May 7, at the ball field in Ruby.
Teresa said she is grateful for her small town and all of their support.