Tori's Story

Tori Schmanski is our beautiful, brilliant, talented and vibrant 16 year old daughter who sustained a ABI (Anoxic Brain Injury) in an automobile accident on Fathers Day, June 19th, 2005. The accident involved Tori, her sister Whitney and two of their cousins. The vehicle they were all in rolled 1.5 times and landed upside down in a canal and everyone except Tori was able to swim out of the vehicle.

Whitney and her cousin were in the back seat of the two door vehicle and both of them distinctly remember being pushed out of the driver's side window and we truly believe it was Tori who saved their lives. This heroic action exemplifies the type of person Tori is. Tori has always focused her attention on helping and supporting others and her life revolved around her friends and family.

Tori was originally in the front passenger seat with her seat belt on and she was eventually removed from the back seat of the submerged vehicle by members of the EMT team after 15-20 minutes. She was then resuscitated and brought back to us during the 10 minute ambulance ride to the local hospital. At the hospital she was immediately stabilized and then Life Flighted to the PICU (Pediatric Intensive Care Unit) at the PCMC (Primary Childrens Medical Center) in Salt Lake City, Utah. Tori also had to be resuscitated again during her hour long flight to the PCMC.

Tori has been fighting for her life ever since and has overcome the incredible odds against her survival. The PICU medical staff originally had little faith in Tori surviving from the severe lung damage sustained in the accident but she fought through it and her lungs are fully recovered at this point. They also believed Tori's brain was without oxygen for an estimated 25 minutes and the resulting anoxic brain damage would leave her at best, in a completely vegetative state. But we have personally witnessed incredible and miraculous activity from Tori including fully awake and aware states, responsiveness to sound and sight, body motion, smiling, laughing and crying among other things. Tori seems to demonstrate new improvement and behavior with each passing day.

Tori is now entering her recovery stage to which there are many, many unknowns. Each and every person is unique and heals differently. Each brain injury is unique as well. No one can predict Tori's final outcome and just how far she can go in her recovery. Tori's strength and determination have brought her this far but the future and additional challenges are now ahead of her. As a family, we are committed to do everything possible to ensure and provide her with the most optimal recovery and the highest quality of life achievable.

The site is designed to keep all of Tori's friends, family and even strangers informed about her condition and progress moving forward. It is also intended for everyone to communicate, collaborate, provide support and share experiences involving Tori. With over 1500 registered users already and an average of 5000 unique visitors per day, the site is a manifest for people expressing how they feel about this absolutely amazing and unique girl. It is also a true testament to Tori, who has already had an incredibly positive impact and influence on so many, many people during her young life.

Tori spent a total of 9 continuous months in hospitals ((PCMC, UVRMC (Utah Valley Regional Medical Center) and the Health South Rehabilitation Hospital) but she is finally home in Orem at this point. She receives support and therapy each and every day.

A daily BLOG (Web Log) regarding Tori's condition and progress has been posted to the site every day since the accident and they can be viewed in sequential order here.

There is also a collection of image galleries that reflects the passion people have for Tori.

We greatly welcome your participation on the site and if you wish to contribute content, even just a comment, you are welcome to sign up for free here.

Thank you,

The Schmanski Family