SHAWNEE, Okla. - Lindsay Dennis just started her first year teaching at Shawnee High School.
She was supposed to start teaching last year, but her life changed while on her way to get a t-shirt from her new school.
While the family's vehicle was stopped in traffic, they were rear ended by someone going around 70 miles per hour.
"The person that hit us was on a Bluetooth device and lost their Bluetooth and wasn't paying attention to the fact the traffic was stopped,” Lindsay said.
While her husband and two sons were also in the car, Lindsay took the brunt of the impact.
After being unconscious for two weeks, she woke up with fractured ribs, a swollen brain and broken vertebrae that paralyzed her lower body.
"It was overwhelming to wake up and be talking to my husband and realize a nurse was poking my leg and never feel it,” Lindsay said.
But doctors always told her that she would walk again, and they were right. She took her first steps in March of this year.
"The longest I've gone is 80 feet and that doesn't sound like much, but in the long run, it's everything," she said.
Dennis hopes to be able to use a walker by the end of the year.
She says the support she's gotten from students and staff along the way is a huge reason she's been able to recover so well.
"This was one of my biggest goals to have because I love what I do. I love working with these kids and this was one of the things that kept me going in the darkest, lowest days,” Lindsay said through tears.
And at the same time, she's inspiring them.
"I think there was a different rapport with them because they're going, 'Okay, if she can do this, then surely I can get through a day,” Lindsay said.
"I can't even get up in the morning so her getting up every day and doing what she does for us is really cool,” Hanna Bachus, a sophomore at Shawnee High School, said.
Lindsay Dennis and her family will be honored at the Oklahoma City Dodgers game Saturday night at 7:05 p.m.