Renae's Story: 20 Years Later

Not long after she graduated from high school, Renae Eshleman, M.S.Ed, LPCC, was severely injured in a car accident that claimed the life of her boyfriend, who was driving. She recently wrote a heartfelt letter to the Miami Valley Hospital trauma team thanking them for the life-changing care they provided her 20 years earlier. “My life is forever impacted by your work,” she wrote.

Renae says that the accident and subsequent care she received by the trauma team is a big part of her story, shaping her college trajectory and leading to where she is today. “Working through some of my trauma and emotions led me to a field where I could connect with people on an emotional level and ultimately be with people who were going through really difficult situations,” she says. “Counseling is my background and I work in behavioral health admissions in the ER. I do assessments for people who come in with mental health issues.”

“There’s definitely the physical piece of recovery that was slow. But I would say the emotional trauma and the emotional pain and working through all of that and that healing definitely took much longer,” Renae explains.

Last year was the 20th anniversary of her car accident and working in the ER inspired Renae to write a note to the trauma team and the CareFlight team. “I just wanted to say thank you for what you’ve done for my life, and here I am 20 years later, sort of in the same place,” she says.

After she sent the letter, she received an email from a member of the trauma team that said, “thank you for the note and by the way, Dr. Ekeh remembers you.”

“I was like, whoa! I didn’t have any idea that anyone was still around,” Renae says.

Renae says that ultimately, we all need to ask ourselves questions about our experiences and be willing to deal with the tough stuff. “Be honest with yourself and talk about your experience,” she says. “Obviously, I’m an advocate for therapy, but be willing to have hard conversations and be honest with yourself and focus on the positive. Time heals.”

Headshot of Akpofure Ekeh, MD

Akpofure Ekeh, MD

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