Patient Stories

Gina’s Story

September 17, 2009
CHI Health

Author:

Gina’s Story

In March of 2008, Gina was in a car accident in Wayne, Nebraska. The car flipped, and Gina was ejected from the car, but partially pinned by it. She was taken to the Wayne hospital, but was life-flighted to a Sioux City, Iowa, hospital where they performed surgery. Gina had a broken back and is now paralyzed from the waist down.

Her family had several rehabilitation programs come to visit them in Sioux City to determine the best place for Gina. One of those programs was CHI Health Immanuel Rehabilitation Center. Gina and her family felt a strong connection because of the way that CHI Health therapists took the time to get to know Gina. They focused on her personal well-being in addition to her medical needs.

Gina had always been very fit and active. She was a tumbler and had started her own business in Wayne teaching tumbling to kids aged 4 to 14. She has maintained the business after the accident, and now teaches from her chair.

She lives independently in an apartment in Wayne, and will graduate from Wayne State College in May, 2010. Her hometown of Glenwood, Iowa, held a fundraiser for her after the accident. They purchased a truck with a lift system that allows her to get her wheelchair into the vehicle and drive herself.

She has an amazing, positive outlook and is determined that whatever she wants to do, she will find a way to do it. She believes that her life hasn’t changed much since the accident. She does everything she did before, just from a chair – and now she gets much better parking.

Want to see what Gina’s up to now? There’s more on Gina’s story available on the CHI Health website.

32 Comments
  1. Avatar

    Jen Hines

    Hey Gina so glad to see you sharing your story. You are one amazing women, and I am so proud of you! I love your determination and and your positive attitude you have had throughout everything you have been through. It was a privelege to work with you at Immanuel Rehab! You Go Girl!!!

  2. Avatar

    Jen

    Thanks for sharing your story Gina! It really is inspirational to see how you've kept such a positive outlook through what must have been an incredibly difficult time in your life. Not only have you accomplished what you set out to do, but you've done it with such grace. I wish you the best!

  3. Avatar

    Greg Hollins

    You are an inspiration to all. Keep the positive attitude and the good work ethic. I hope you achieve all your goals.

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    Lyndsey Stephenson

    Hey G! I'm so proud of you and your hard work and determination. I love that you are sharing your story with everyone. You have accomplished so much in your life and are a very determined young woman. Congratulations and love ya!

  5. Avatar

    Gina Giaffoglione

    Hey guys!! thank you for all the kind words!! :) Nothing would have been possible without all the belief and support for everyone around me! Thank you so much for everything!! Gina! :)

  6. Avatar

    Judy Andersen

    Gina... What can I say ! What a BEAUTIFUL Woman you are and I admire your positive additude. Your story will reach out to SO many people and show them you CAN do anything you put your mind to... because you PROVE it here in your story! You make HUGE steps and progress everyday! MY whole family LOVES YOU ! The Andersen Clan

  7. Avatar

    Jessica

    I saw your story on tv and I just couldn't belive it! You always were a role model to me and you're such a strong person Gina. You really are an amazing person and a great inspiration. Keep doing what you do! :)

  8. Avatar

    Michelle (Jens) Sprague

    Gina, I've missed seeing you! You're such an amazing woman...you always have been!! I admire your strength and perserverance. You are an inspiration to us all. To live with such dignity and grace without hardships is difficult enough, but to do what you've done and continue to do is simply amazing! So proud of you, girl!!

  9. Avatar

    hannah belt

    hey gina, rock on! :) :D

  10. Avatar

    Stephanie

    Hey Gina, I just want to tell you that you are sooo awesome!! Watching your video brings tears to my eyes. You have endured so much, and yet you are still so positive! You are truely an inspiration. Thank you for sharing your experience openly with all of us. One more thing, your eyes and beautiful face just glow...you make my heart smile :)

  11. Avatar

    Dan Martin

    Unbelievable story. Gina you are truely and inspiration.God bless.

  12. Avatar

    brianna

    thank you so much for sharing your story. I was in a really bad accident in June. I was on an atv and my friend was driving and I flew off twenty feet into a ditch and it came down after me and ran over my back side I couldn't move at all from the waist down I was terrified and completely concious the whole time. I was taken by ambulance to a Fremont hospital and there they took x-rays and put in a cathader they found out I was internally bleeding and I severly shattered my pelvis. I then was life flighted to creighton and I've had multiple surgeries and I have been in a wheel chair for five months. my story is nothing compared to yours but I just wanted to say you are inspiring me with how strong you have been with all of this. it is my freshman year in high school and I haven't been able to go to school and see my friends which just makes everything so much harder. thank you for sharing your story it was very good to hear how well you're handling this.

  13. Avatar

    Janell Badami

    Hi Gina! I am so proud of you!!! You set your goals and accomplished them with determination and a positive attitude. You will be successful in every aspect of your life. You are amazing and I am so glad I have had the opportunity to get to know you and your family. Keep up the hard work! Janell Badami

  14. Avatar

    Mary Hiatt

    Hi Gina, My daughter Chloe was a student of your Dad's gym in Glenwood. I absolutely loved hearing your story, and am so happy to hear you have your own business and are working with kids. I wish you the greatest happiness you have ever dreamed of, you and your family deserve it! God Bless. Mary

  15. Avatar

    John H Rebensdorf

    What an inspiration. I've seen you and the girls perform at basketball games. You are a great role model. I wish you the best.

  16. Avatar

    Kelli Goss

    Hi Gina - I just want to say "thank you" for sharing your story and being such an inspiration. My 15-year old nephew was in a vehicle accident this past summer, and it resulted in an injury that has also left him paralyzed and wheel chair bound. After hearing your story and the positive attitude you have maintained, I would love for you to meet him! I am truly amazed and inspired by you!

  17. Avatar

    Renee

    Gina, you shine! You are remarkable and an inspiration to anyone - disabled or not. Thank you, Alegent, for sharing this woman with us. She not only coaches people's bodies, she coaches people's spirits.

  18. Avatar

    Cally Boatwright

    Hey Gina, You have always been an inspiration. Gina played 4 years of high school tennis, and had come out to learn the game when she was nine. She tried so hard and made it up the ranks to #2 seed. Trying hard is what has made her a person to overcome tragedy as well as anyone can, and never give up must be her motto. I am so proud of you. You go girl. Your 'old' tennis coach.

  19. Avatar

    Gina Giaffoglione

    Hey Everyone, Again I just want to thank all of you for taking the time to watch my video and leave such wonderful comments. When I come to check the site to see if anyone new has written something, and I find all of these extremely kind words it makes me smile more than I could ever explain. It's people like all of you and words like all of these that help people like me keep going and stay positive. So from the bottom of my heart I thank all of you for all of the support and belief you have in me! Thank you so so much! Gina Giaffoglione :)

  20. Avatar

    Joe Fortina

    Hi Gina, I heard many stories about you from your father Gary, and prayed much for your recovery. I saw your face finally on TV and said that's got to be THEE Gina! Don't take this the wrong way but you have a resemblance of your father just more feminine. You have done a remarkable job at recovering and you should be very proud. God bless you! Joe Fortina Rockbrook Camera Omaha, Ne.

  21. Avatar

    Gabi Poole

    Hey Gina I love tumgling with your dad. Your so brave i listen to your story when i feel that i can do some thing and I'm so glad your telling your story to the people around the world. god is really watching over you. bye Lov you, Gabi Poole (tumblier)

  22. Avatar

    Rafat Kishtah

    Hi Gina: Just when I'm about to lose my faith in the human race, somebody like you pops up, to prove that there is still grandeur on this earth, and also higher realms do exist, otherwise, where did somebody like you, so regal and transcendental, come from? You are so beautiful inside out. I salute you, and I wish I could meet you one day.

  23. Avatar

    Gina Giaffoglione

    AGAIN...thank you thank you thank you ALL!!! :) Every time I get on this site and check out the new comments I instantly become all smiles!! You're kind words and belief in me mean the world to me!! I could never say thank you enough!! An update on me, I'm graduation college with my bachelors degree in Human Service Counseling in two weeks! :) I CAN'T WAIT! :) This summer I have an internship at Immanuel Hospital working with Dr. Bowls and Dr. McConnel to get some experience as a Rehab Counselor! After the summer I will be attending grad school then start looking for a job! :) For everyone out there who has watched this video who is injured themselves, keep your heads up! :) We can do anything we put our minds to...it may be done differently, but it can still be done! :) Again, thank you to everyone for all the kind words and belief in me, without it I wouldn't be where I am today! Thank you with all my heart! Gina Giaffoglione! :)

  24. Avatar

    Kevin Claussen

    Hi Gina my name is Kevin and I was in a terrible hunting accident when I was 14 years old. I got shot while sitting in a truck from just a foot away with a shotgun. I am also a T12 para. I am now 36, married with 3 kids. I live in Grand Island and was also a patient at Immanuel. I was there from Dec of 88 till April of 89. I have also thought that I would someday really like to pay that place and the people back for all they have done for me. I used to really appreciate the people that would visit my room to explain to me about how life was going to be different and they would always just try to make the whole thing easier. I was wondering about the Matter of Seconds program. I read your story in the Norfolk paper today. I too remember my whole accident and like to tell my story to help people. I have spoken at hunters safety meetings with the young kids and just feel like I owe so much more. (with a 6 year old and 1 year old twins it is sometimes hard to find time) How do I get involved with this group or any others thru the hospital that you are aware of. Thank you so much and stay strong!!!

  25. Avatar

    Mike

    Not only are you an inspiration but you are absolutely beautuful. I saw you at Immanuel the other day on the 4th floor. I thought you were beautiful on tv but even more so in person. I'm happy you are getting through this with such a great attitiude.

  26. Avatar

    Rain

    I'm glad that Gina overcame this hardship. Only yesterady I read the book by Anthony Robbins Awaken the Giant Within(you may find it at pdf SE http://www.pdfok.com ) and he gave the example of a man who got paralized but also had problems with his lungs and had a lung that was made of iron. But he didn't give up. He thought of the things he could do for the society. Well, he did a lot. He created the foundation that helped the people who got in a similar situation, he was elected and did a lot of for the people of his own city. Nothing is in vain, everything has its meaning and mission.

  27. Avatar

    Sefora

    Well, think I won't say anything new, but I must to do it - Gina, you are great person! It is not a common thing to know such pretty and strong women! I resume you are belong to the angels on the earth! Hope you will continue to live with the same priority, thus many people could follow your experience! Best regards, Sefora V

  28. Avatar

    Janet Cech

    Gina: I met you when I brought my daughter Jackie back for a check up at Immanuel. Her accident was in 2004 when she was 13 and she also is paralyzed from the waist down but Immanuel helped to keep her right on track learning to drive when she turned 16 and graduating and now in her second year of college. You remind me so much of her and how you both accepted everything so well and don't let obstacles stand in the way of what you want to accomplish. Keep up the good work. Janet

  29. Avatar

    Jami Devine

    Gina, we wanted to tell you thank you so much for coming to our school and telling us your story. We really enjoyed it- especially when you said your doctor said you would never walk again, and you said, "Watch me!" You are so determined and a great role model to look up to. Thanks again!! ~ Mrs. Devine's 5th Graders

  30. Avatar

    Autumn Giaffoglione

    Hey Gina!(:

  31. Avatar

    Seuss

    Hello Gina you know who I am I have been in tumbling since I was 5 my dream was to be in the fantastic flyers and I have come a long way and with you I can accomplish my dream of being a fantastic flyer and now I am in a group that is the next best at Gary's. Thank you for being my instructor and u wish you a bu bye

  32. Avatar

    keenpetite aka Carmen

    Dear Gina: Very proud of you, as a young lady you have a very positive/contagious personality as well as attitude, not a quitter. You're an asset to everyone you meet, please continue as you are. I'm in my early 60's but 3/86 was involved a serious car crash, thankfully to our Creator, able to walk & drive; I have a positive attitude, "Show must go on " Wish you many yrs of happiness, Carmen

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