Grace Drehmer

“Small, but mighty.”

That’s how many describe 20-year-old Grace Drehmer. Grace loves spending time with her friends jet skiing on the lake. She was four days from deployment, ready to serve our country, when her accident occurred. Attempting a backflip on a trampoline, Grace landed on her neck. She couldn’t move her extremities and feared the worst.

Taken to University Medical Center, Grace was diagnosed with a fracture of her cervical spine and a spinal cord injury. Dr. Todd Trier performed surgery to repair her fractured spine and relieve the pressure on her spinal cord.

After surgery, an ambulance transported Grace to Highlands Rehabilitation Hospital. She arrived at Highlands unable to walk, feed herself, or sit up on her own. But armed with a positive spirit, Grace was ready to begin her journey to recovery. Grace’s injury left her family devastated. But when they asked Grace if she was worried, she said “I’m hopeful.” Grace had already begun to wiggle her fingers and toes. She gave her family hope.

With a dedicated heart, Grace worked with physical and occupational therapy intensively. Within the first few days, Grace was able to sit up in a wheelchair and visit with her family at her window. She worked relentlessly and continued to persevere. Her parents, Angie and Bob, and older brother, Caleb, got to watch her walk down the sidewalk for the first time with physical therapy.

“This is the success: the day we left Highlands with our sweet girl walking,” Angie said. “Our story. Our blessing. Our miracle! Without what the team at Highlands did for Grace, we wouldn’t be rejoicing the way we are. Our thanks go to each and every one of you! Highlands is forever in our hearts because of the care Grace received.”

Grace has since returned home to Maryland and has begun outpatient therapy. Her mom looks forward to soon walking along the shore with her at Cape Charles Bay.