KEARNS — Life will never be the same for Cassidy Porter.
On May 9, she lost two friends in an accident. The loss of her friends, including her best friend, has brought her a new perspective on life.
"We take things for granted a lot, like being able to walk and do things on our own," she said. "We think we're invincible. Nothing's going to happen to us."
Cassidy was one of four Hunter High students leaving school for lunch on May 9 when the car they were traveling in collided with another vehicle near the intersection of 4100 South and 5600 West.
The driver of the car, Jacob Armijo, and front-seat passenger Avery Bock, both 16, were killed in the crash. A fourth student, Leticia Cordero, 16, was also injured in the collision, as was the driver of the other vehicle.
Cassidy was taken to the hospital by medical helicopter in critical condition. “I just remember driving out of the school parking lot, and that’s pretty much it,” she said.
While she doesn’t remember the crash, she has plenty of reminders of it. "I have 60 scars. This is just from the glass, and I still have glass in my arm," Cassidy said while holding up her right arm.
Her road to recovery has been long after an aortic tear required her to be medically sedated. She suffered other extensive injuries, including a broken jaw, a broken femur, collapsed lung and fractured pelvis.
The injuries were so severe that Bessie Porter didn't know if her daughter was going to make it.
"It's just been a blessing, a blessing,” she said. “I mean, I wake up and I just go in the next room and I check on her and I know that's she's there.”
Cassidy spent six weeks in the hospital and was released on June 20. She was in a wheelchair and had to learn how to walk again. "I'm not running yet or jumping, but I'll get there," she said with a laugh.
She needs constant care. She's working with a speech therapist to help with her cognitive skills, and she plans to go back to school in a few weeks. But her senior year won't be the same without Jacob and Avery. She grew up with Jacob. He was her best friend.
"He was somebody I could confide in," she said. "He was just a great kid. I mean, there's not a minute of the day that I don't think of him."
An account has been set up for donations in Cassidy's name at America First Credit Union to help with medical costs.
Copyright 2016, Deseret News Publishing Company