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July 2022 Joy Keane

June 21, 2022

In early June of 2020, Joy and her eldest son were on their way to visit her mother when they were in a horrific car accident. The morning had gotten off to a great start, and she and her son were enjoying their time together and listening to some of their favorite music—REO Speedwagon. While going around a curve in the road, an 18-wheeler crossed the center line and clipped the side of Joy’s car.

Contact with the 18-wheeler sent Joy’s car into a spin, doing 3 full 360-degree spins beneath the truck before coming to a stop. The truck had recently dropped off its load of milk, and those working on the accident reconstruction suspect that is the only reason Joy and her son survived. An off-duty first responder stopped and immediately began to manage the accident scene before others arrived to help.

Joy was initially stable. Her condition then took a turn for the worse and she died at the scene and was revived before being transported to the hospital by helicopter. Her son, miraculously, came out of the accident virtually unscathed.

In the two years since the accident, Joy has experienced many struggles and also done a lot of healing. From being isolated in the ICU and hospital without family or support due to COVID-19 to starting neurorehabilitation and slowly getting to a place in her recovery where she could travel by car again, Joy has faced numerous challenges. She credits her faith with helping her make it through the long days of pain, rehabilitation, and recovery.

“The Joy from two years ago died that day, and the person I am now is different. I like her a lot more. I’m a lot calmer. I can’t do loud voices and noises, but that’s okay, and I am very much my own advocate now,” Joy said.

Along the way, she has found great support and comfort in her church group, brain injury support group, and brain injury rehabilitation services. “Every person I’ve met along my journey has been amazing, and it’s an honor to be a part of these groups meeting new people. Joy also is passionate about helping others, and she is working towards becoming a mental health peer advocate.