Henryville mother who lost legs in storm makes a moving speech


by Chelsea Rabideau


Posted on April 13, 2012 at 6:24 PM

Updated Friday, Apr 13 at 6:41 PM

JEFFERSONVILLE, Ind. (WHAS11) -- When it comes to stories of survival, few are more moving than Stephanie Decker’s. At the Annual Fillies Networking Luncheon and Fashion Show Friday, the Henryville mother offered inspiration to women fighting battles of their own against breast cancer.

“All of you out there have been touched by someone that has survived,” Decker told the crowd.

She told her tale of surviving the massive tornado outbreak in Southern Indiana on March 2 and how she sacrificed her legs to save her children.

“I still [had] my kids, they obviously know that something is wrong, but they can’t see anything. I’m laying on them, I have rubble all over me, all over my body, and then I see a steel beam that I was next to. That steel beam was falling and I could see where it was going to fall. But, I had two choices to make. One of those choices was to let go of my children, move the rubble off me because it was too heavy and then move out of the way of the beam. Or, I could lay there, on my children and let that beam fall. And, I had to let that beam fall, because I didn’t know,” said Decker with tears in her eyes.

She wasn’t alone, a teary audience hung on her every word, listening to some of the most terrifying moments of Stephanie’s life. 

“This is the time of the story that is hardest for me,” she said after describing what it was like to be trapped in the shambles of their home as two tornadoes blew through dropping baseball-sized hail on her already battered body. “Because, I’m by myself and I have to find a way to survive.”

In those lonely minutes, after she sent her children with the neighbor for help, it was Stephanie’s faith that pulled her through.

“I said, let me live. I feel like I have a message here. I feel like you’ve done this for a reason for me. So, let me live to see my kids grow up and have kids of their own, I want to see them get married, I want to see them play baseball, I want to see all those things in their life, so don’t let me go now,” said Decker.

Stephanie did survive. She had several broken ribs, a punctured lung and both of her legs had to be amputated. Those circumstances aside, living life to the fullest is her priority now.

“I was alive, and that’s all that mattered to me,” said Decker.

Decker said that rehab is going very well. She also said that she is working hard and hopes to be fit for a prosthetic within the next couple of weeks.