The year was 2001. September. Right after 9/11.
Dara was 17 years old. She lived in Brooklyn, New York and worked at a Barnes and Noble book store.
On September 30, her mom dropped her off to work. She decided to take an early lunch at a Chinese restaurant with a friend. She was waiting for the friend leaning against a brick wall of the store. Suddenly a Cadillac driven by an old woman came barreling toward her - in reverse. The old woman was apparently trying to get the car in gear and put it in reverse by accident. Dara's was thrown violently against the wall and her right leg was pinned.
Amazingly, Dara was in little pain initially. Kind hearted passerby's freed her from the car. A woman helped her hop to a nearby garbage can. Fortunately, Dara was wearing pants and could not see her leg. She had suffered a broken kneecap, compound fracture of the tibia, and dislocated ankle.
She began to feel ill when she saw her white sock drenched in blood.
An ambulance was summoned. The pain began to kick in and increased steadily until she got to the ER. Dara's mom was summoned to the hospital. Dara was called a 'superwoman' for not passing out on the way to the hospital.
In Dara' words. So they start moving my shattered leg around for X-Rays and that was it. Superwoman gave up. I saw stars. I screamed bloody murder and someone had to remove my mom from the hospital because she was so upset hearing me scream. I don’t even know how to describe the pain, but I do know it was bad enough to make me pass out. Evidently I went into shock. The next thing I know, I’m awake and drugged up again in the ER.
Now I should point out that at this point in her life, Dara was a dancer. She had learned ballet, tap, pointe, and a variety of other styles. Her life goal was to be a dance on Broadway. In the ER, she was told she may lose her leg, would never walk normally, and she should give up all hope of dancing.
Dara spent 30 days in the hospital. She underwent 16 surgeries. She was visited daily by a handful of friends.
During her stay in the hospital, Dara acquired a collection of stuffed animal. The first of these - a stuffed kitten - was given to her by her father. For some peculiar reason, Dara named each of the animals after some drug she had been given in the hospital. The kitten was named 'Morphine'.
The shock, horror, and pain of the injury - plus 30 days of confinement in a hospital, left Dara with a variety of emotional scars. She suffered from depression, anxiety, and PTSD for years after the accident. Riding home from the hospital, Dara had to lay in the back seat. She screamed the entire way home, covered by blankets and stuffed animals - convinced she would be in another accident.
But as the ancient Greeks said, 'Time is the physician's cure.' Three years after the accident, Dara was able to resume dancing - although not at the Broadway level. Today, she has no limp and is able to run.
During her confinement in bed and subsequently to a wheelchair, Dara fell in love with the 'Food Channel' on Network TV. She watched cooking shows constantly. This led to her current career as a food blogger and social influencer. She has over 90,000 Instagram followers.