COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - Nearly four months ago, a Chapin man was killed and his wife was severely injured when the pontoon the family was riding on was struck by another boater.
Stan Kiser died in the crash while his wife Shawn Kiser’s leg was severed from the impact.
Their daughter, Morgan, was also on board and suffered a head injury. Kiser credits her daughter’s quick actions in saving her life.
“She took off her dress and made a tourniquet around my leg,” Shawn Kiser said. “I didn’t realize at the time how beat up my leg was.”
In mid-December, Kiser was fitted for her prosthetic leg, getting back on her feet for the first time since the September crash. On Monday, she began two weeks of inpatient physical therapy at Encompass Health in Columbia, as she learns how to navigate life with her new leg.
“Just being able to stand and walk on two legs is something I will never take for granted again,” Kiser said.
Ordinary tasks like climbing stairs, getting into a car or walking down the hallway are all things Kiser is relearning with the help of physical therapists. Activities that once took no thought now take a considerable amount of time.
“I never thought this would happen to me,” she said. “God has our plans for the future and there are so many other things I used to worry about and now it’s not even an issue.”
Morgan Kiser, Shawn’s daughter, said she’s inspired by her mother’s positive attitude over the last four months, despite losing the love of her life in the crash.
“I had come to terms with the fact that she was gone, and for her to be here and for her to have her leg, to have her freedom and for her to be my mom again and take care of me, it’s amazing,” she said.
On Tuesday night, the two received a surprise visit from Gamecocks head women’s basketball coach, Dawn Staley.
“She is such a motivational speaker,” Kiser said. “She told me to put my leg on and I said, ‘No, I’ve taken it off for the night’ and she said, ‘No, put the leg on’ and I said, ‘No,’ and she said ‘Put the leg on!’ So I’m putting my leg on and then she walked me down the hall.”
Staley issued Kiser a challenge: During the March 1 Gamecocks women’s basketball game, Kiser will walk across the court using only a cane.
“I hope she doesn’t want me to take any shots,” Kiser said. “I may need to get in the backyard and get to practicing!”
The family has started a new initiative called “Safe The Lake” in an effort to increase boating safety and education statewide.
“I think it’s really important for people to be educated because you don’t know how horrible it is until you’re in that situation and it’s really, really bad,” Morgan Kiser said.
On the Safe The Lake website, visitors can take a survey and weigh in on concerns and changes related to safer waterways.
The man accused of slamming into the Kiser’s boat, 53-year-old Tracy Gordon, is charged with three counts of felony BUI.