Stephanie Decker saved her kids, and is happy she is alive to raise them

By Stephen M. Silverman
Updated March 28, 2012 01:00 PM
Credit: Splash News Online

Stephanie Decker, the heroic Indiana mother who lost parts of both her legs while saving her children from this month’s deadly 175-m.p.h. tornado, is where she wants to be: back home with her husband and kids.

Neighbors and friends, who made the Marysville, Ind., family residence wheelchair-accessible while Decker, 36, underwent her amazingly fast recovery, greeted her at the door on Monday.

Decker’s first order of business? “Sit down with my kids and give them a hug,” she told TODAY Moms. A round of driveway basketball was also on the agenda.

“Even in a wheelchair I can still get out and shoot basketball,” said the mother of two. “They are so ready for me to be home.”

The twister that hit Southern Indiana and Kentucky on March 2 killed 35 people and sent debris crushing down on Decker, who was shielding her kids, Dominic, 8, and Reese, 5, from the debris with a blanket in the basement of their Indiana home. The kids were completely unharmed, but she nearly bled to death.

After treatment at University Hospital in Louisville to remove portions of her legs, one below her knee and the other just above, Decker was transferred to Southern Indiana Rehab Hospital. In all, she was away for only 24 days.

‘A Second Chance at Life’

Speaking to the press upon her release Monday, Decker choked back tears. Her two children, and husband Joe Decker, were with her, reports USA Today.

“I have a second chance at life,” she said. “We survived something that was pretty traumatic, [but] I’m here, so I get to raise my kids.”

Facing a lengthy recovery period, Decker must first heal to the point that doctors are able to perform a skin graft that would lead the way for prosthetics.

With great determination and tremendous support from others, including complete strangers whose donations went to help renovate her house, a grateful Decker says: “I want to be out and active. I don’t want to be stuck in a bed.”