Hero Mom Has ‘No Regrets’ After Losing Legs Saving Her Children
(Screenshot from People Magazine/Stephanie Decker)
Decker told People Magazine‘s Nicole Weisensee Egan that she was just bringing her 8-year-old son and 5-year-old daughter home in 2012 when the winds started getting really bad. She knew there was a tornado coming through the area, so she did what you’re supposed to do in that situation, and she ran to the basement with her kids. But then it started getting really bad, so she wrapped both the kids in a blanket and laid down on top of them.
From there, Decker says she watched the entire house lift away from its foundation. She was covered in debris from the destroyed house, and she says she watched in slow-motion as a 20-foot steel beam came crashing down towards her. But she didn’t move, because that would mean getting off the kids.
The beam crushed her legs and pinned her in place, and a second tornado was coming right in the path of the first. Decker says she did what she could to shield her kids from the bricks and stones from the house that came hurtling down at them. In the end, both her legs were crushed and she had a punctured lung and eight broken ribs, but her kids were totally fine.
Decker says she wouldn’t have done a thing differently and that it was just her “time to step up.” She’s been busy since the accident, too. She’s since launched a charitable foundation that sends kids who have lost limbs to sports camp. She also took up running, thanks to some very expensive and high-tech prostheses, and she also became a vocal advocate for laws requiring insurance companies to cover prostheses.
Decker’s story will be on People Icons: Heroes and Survivors tonight on ABC with her husband and her kids, who are very, very lucky to have her as a mom.