This teen is living his best life, despite the odds.
Loren Schauers was working at a Wilsall, Montana, bridge-rehabilitation construction site in September 2019 when, veering to avoid a car as it illegally passed by him, he drove his forklift too close to the edge and the ground beneath him crumbled. He tried to jump from the falling forklift but his leg became trapped in the seat belt and he plummeted 50 feet before being pinned by the 2,200-pound vehicle.
“I tried staying on top of the forklift as much as I could as it rolled, and then I was thrown from the forklift at the end of the hill once it finally landed,” the 19-year-old told the Sun. “My eyes were wide open and I saw the forklift come down and land on my hips and my right forearm.”
Doctors told Sabia Reiche, his girlfriend of 18 months at the time of the accident who is now his fiancée, that he wouldn’t make it. But after performing a hemicorporectomy surgery — amputating everything beneath his waist — Schauers miraculously pulled through.
“It wasn’t a hard choice to have half of my body amputated — it was basically a choice of living or dying,” Schauers, who also lost his right forearm and hand in the wreck, said. “With Sabia [promising] to stay by my side no matter what and all my immediate family being around me, it really wasn’t a hard choice for me!”
Now, after three months in the hospital and four weeks of rehab, he’s home with his love and doing as well as possible.
“For starters, we take this sock and we put Loren’s nephrostomy tubes through the back of it,” says 21-year-old Reiche in a video showing her helping Schauers with his medical equipment, before sliding the sock over the bottom of Loren’s torso. “And then he lifts up and I pull the sock down and make sure that his nephrostomy tubes are coming out nice around these holes. We pull it back — ah, not yet,” she says as Schauers begins to stop holding up his torso and lie back down.
The teen is then seen moving through the snow in a plow-equipped automatic wheelchair, carrying on with his life — and living it to the fullest.
“Every medical professional I come across is pretty amazed by everything, especially with the story that comes along with my injuries,” he said.