Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Hospital Pediatric Unit is celebrating the 10th anniversary of its opening in Bethlehem. As part of the milestone, we are looking back at former patients over the last 10 years.
Today, we catch up with Kiera Pheiffer.
It all can change in an instant.
One moment on October 4, 2014, Kiera Pheiffer was a 17-year-old high school senior and co-captain of the soccer team. The next, she’s fighting for her life after a severe car accident.
Kiera’s accident left her with a traumatic brain injury, broken bones, torn aorta, ruptured spleen and left side weakness. When she arrived at the hospital, doctors told her family that her injuries were extremely serious. In a coma, she spent the next month at the hospital, having various surgeries and starting the long road to recovery. Her parents began to think about the next step for their daughter in terms of long-term rehabilitation.
“We knew we wanted someplace close to home,” says Helene Pheiffer, Kiera’s mother. “We toured Good Shepherd’s pediatric unit in Bethlehem at the recommendation of a social worker at the hospital and knew it was the right place for Kiera. Being near younger children would help her.”
Kiera arrived at Good Shepherd in November and would spend 241 days in the pediatric unit. Upon arrival, she was still in a coma and completely reliant on her care team and family as well as feeding and breathing tubes for her survival. Her care team, consisting of pediatric physiatrists, psychologists, occupational, physical, speech, recreational and respiratory therapists, worked with Kiera for several hours every day.
A goal of Kiera’s during rehabilitation was to walk across the stage for her graduation from Freedom High School. She did just that on June 4, 2015. The room thundered with applause and cheers as she made her way across the stage at Lehigh University’s Stabler Arena with the assistance of a walker and her Good Shepherd physical therapist.
Aspiring Author and Inspiration
Today, 22-year-old Kiera continues to challenge herself in her ongoing recovery. She lives at home with her parents, Helene and Bill, and wields a positive outlook on life and a healthy sense of humor (“I think I’m hysterical, and I think I am adorable,” she quips).
“Overall, I feel I am doing well and feeling stronger,” says Kiera. “I am still progressing in my recovery. Progression is slow, but still there.”
Kiera recently joined a gym across the street from her house, where she goes three times a week. She also enjoys a variety of activities, including writing, family game night, coloring, doing puzzles, gardening, cooking, watching movies, going for long walks with her parents, having her older sister help her grow as a writer and attending her younger brother’s college soccer games.
“My long-term goals in life include writing an autobiography, becoming a children’s author and becoming a motivational speaker by sharing my story with others,” says Kiera. “My other goals include maintaining a happy and healthy life. I have realized the importance of these two components. My goal is to inspire others.”
Kiera says her time at Good Shepherd’s pediatric unit had a positive impact during a difficult point in her life.
“Looking back now, I’m very thankful to have had Good Shepherd there for me in my time of need,” says Kiera. “They treated me like family.”
To learn more about the Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Hospital Pediatric Unit, call 1-888-44-REHAB or request an appointment.