Lauren Koops of Cypress, TX, is the winner of the 2021 Survivor of a Car Accident Scholarship. Lauren, 20, is in her sophomore year at the University of Texas. Scholarship applicants were instructed to compose a 500- to 1,000-word essay on their firsthand experience of surviving a car accident.
Lauren’s essay was chosen out of more than 80 entries. She wrote how her life changed on June 1, 2020, when she was hit by a car while crossing the street near her home. As a result, Lauren was hospitalized with a traumatic brain injury (TBI) and other severe injuries. While unconscious in the hospital, she missed her high school graduation and had her college admission revoked.
Lauren’s Exceptional Recovery
Lauren’s recovery included multiple surgeries, the struggle to learn to walk again, and soul-crushing news delivered by her doctors: she may never be exceptional again.
She faced this news the way she faced everything in her life, with a determination to exceed the hospital’s average charts and scores, prove to her doctors, and more importantly, herself, that she is still exceptional.
Though she may have mourned the International Scholastic Silver Medalist she could have been before her auto-pedestrian accident, she is even more thrilled to have another chance at life. She is happy to meet new people, learn new things, and witness tomorrow.
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Lauren’s Credits Her Family and Friends for Her Success
Lauren credits the love her mother, her friends, and the rest of her family showed while helping her recover and find her smile again. Their promise to love her no matter who she became gave her confidence to move forward.
She said the accident helped her redefine what it meant to be thankful. Though life is not always easy for Lauren, she holds deep-seated gratitude for the ability to feel not only life’s successes but its frustrations, too.
What She Would Say to Somebody Facing Similar Challenges
The most challenging part of her recovery, she said, has been grieving the old life that she had meticulously planned and forming a new life and a new worldview.
If she could advise a young girl or boy going through a similar car accident recovery experience, she would share with them how she was willing to surrender her meticulously written future. Instead, she would create new dreams on a larger scope and breadth.
She said she would encourage them to push forward and tell them, “You have the opportunity to know, see, and feel things that you never could have imagined before.”
How Lauren’s Car Accident Injuries Are Affecting Her Today
Today, Lauren Koops encounters daily challenges at school and home but has been afforded numerous accommodations to help her cope. For example, when things go “fuzzy” halfway through a test, or she suffers mental fatigue during a long school day, she said she’s learned to take it easy on herself.
Yet, this is something she continually works at. She said it’s sometimes hard to admit she’s having a bad day and ask her friends and family for patience. But, her method of coping has taught her to view others the way she would like to be viewed, with patience and openness.
Why Lauren Chose a Journalism Major
Lauren’s decision to major in journalism stemmed directly from her car-pedestrian accident survival story. She craves travel and the opportunity to experience all that she can and share it with people that may never have that same opportunity.
She also wants to share her gratitude for life and learn about individuals from all walks of life and use words to capture their cultures within their elements. She said that the opportunity to discover what unites human beings is what sets her “ablaze down the path of journalism.”
“I’m happy to be here. I’m happy to have another chance. I’m happy to learn new things, to meet new people, to witness tomorrow,” she said in response to interview questions. “As I plan a life full of these tomorrows, I let this gratitude guide me.”
About the John Foy & Associates Survivor of a Car Accident Scholarship
For over two decades, John Foy & Associates attorneys have diligently worked to help car accident victims and their families. However, we know that the impact of a car accident doesn’t end after a settlement or when medical bills are paid. Many car accidents, or car-pedestrian accidents like Lauren’s, leave a lifetime of scars and emotional trauma.
We are deeply moved to witness a young person like Lauren Koops not only surviving her injuries but persevering socially and scholastically. That’s why we are proud of contributing to her educational goals by honoring her with this year’s $1,000 Survivor of a Car Accident Scholarship.