A drunk driver in Utah ended the cheerleading career of beautiful 17-year-old Sarah Frei when he crashed into her this summer. The crash left Frei paralyzed from the waist down and forced doctors to amputate both of her legs. For months, Frei has been recovering in the hospital following the crash that occurred over the summer. Now, in October, Frei has finally been released from the hospital and returned home to a grand parade hosted by all of her friends, family, and neighbors.

Frei was in a car with three friends when the drunk driver nearly killed her on July 30, 2020. Although every person in the car was left injured, Sarah had the worst of it. She spent about three months clinging to life at the Craig H. Neilsen Rehabilitation Hospital in Salt Lake City. Because she had just received clearance to return home from her stint in the hospital, the Clearfield High School senior was welcomed back with a homecoming parade for the history books by all that loved her and missed her.

After the drunk driver ruined Sarah and her friends’ lives, they were stranded for an hour before rescue crews were able to reach them.

“She was internally bleeding, had damage to her abdominal aorta, a broken back and spinal cord injuries at her T12 and L2 vertebrae, a broken ankle, and facial fractures,” her loved one wrote on her official Instagram page. “She has undergone several surgeries where she lost 30% of her intestines, had a back fusion from T12-L4, and had to have both legs amputated at mid-thigh. She was also confirmed paralyzed from the waist down.”

Sarah has battled fevers and infection and endured twenty surgeries. Because of COVID-19 restrictions, she could see only one parent at a time while she was in the hospital. It was a very challenging process for the young cheerleader – but now she is trying to look forward to brighter times ahead. At least she has the support of her community in that venture.

The homecoming parade was a delight for Sarah after all she had gone through following the crash.

“I had no idea how many people would come. It was awesome,” Frei told TODAY.

Sarah’s mom was also delighted by the turnout.

“We get several comments a day on her Instagram page from strangers that say, ‘You’ve inspired me,’” said Sarah’s mom, Amy Frei. “It’s amazing to hear. I told Sarah it is her smile and outlook. On one of her posts, she was talking to her aunts and how what happened has happened. There is nothing she can do about that. But she said, ‘I can control my attitude and how I react.’ That has been a good lesson for everyone to hear.”

As for the future, Amy Frei believes her daughter will be OK.

“She has such a positive outlook on this and is saying, ‘I am going to be OK. Don’t be sad for me. I am going to be fine,’” Sarah’s mom explained. “What is so cute about Sarah is when she is talking to her friends, nothing has changed. Now the question is: how am I going to get into my friend’s pool? It’s not I’ll never do this or that… it’s about how will I do it now?”

What do you think about this community welcome-home parade?

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