Brave Danielle Wilson counts her blessings after accident

By Susan Johnson
Copy Editor

Moving from Las Vegas to Illinois would be challenge enough for most people. But for Danielle Wilson, a sudden accident threw her plans into limbo – but she’s not looking back with self-pity, she’s looking ahead with courage and pluck. A benefit is being planned for Saturday, May 24, in Poplar Grove.

Danielle, 29, told The Rock River Times, “I took a vacation four years ago from Vegas to Rockford, and got introduced to somebody who was involved in an agricultural company. I was taught how to drive a tractor and grain cart during harvest… Every year for the past four years, I would fly from Vegas to the stateline and harvest corn for an egg company. I finally decided to move out here.”

She still misses her family back home. “I have a dad. I love my father and my stepmother,” she said. “All my family. I grew up in Washington state, in Seattle. I lived in Vegas for six years.”

She came here with a dream to work in the farming industry, but unfortunately, something happened that would change her life forever. “I was here for a month for harvest,” she recalled. “I caught the tail end of harvest. I was here into December… I was here about three months when I lost my [left] hand. I was helping at another friend’s farm. We had just had a bad snowstorm. When that snowstorm happened, I went over there to help plow snow. The plow got frozen in place, and because there was nothing coming into the plow when I was cleaning it, it actually sucked my hand into the chute. The most painful part was to come after. It took a half-hour for the ambulance to get there. But I gathered my fingers off the ground and put my fingers in a bag with snow, and then I knelt down and kept my hand buried in snow until the paramedics arrived. It was a military family. Sometimes you just have to think logically and not with emotion.

Unfortunately, the auger in that snowplow tore my fingers to pieces. They could not save them. They cut open my abdomen and inserted my hand for three weeks. I was sewn inside myself. It was a skin graft using my own body and blood flow from my abdomen. So I was stitched into myself, and then they cut my hand out and pulled the skin together, and then I had another skin graft a few weeks later that came off my leg to patch up the bottom side of my hand where there was not a skin graft, to create more skin.

Now, in the healing process, my hand has adapted very well. I can grab hold of smaller things, and I have another surgery coming up in June to separate one of my three fingers. I lost four, but the pinkie was out by itself. My pointer, middle and ring finger are all together.”

The benefit for Danielle Wilson will be held from 3 p.m. to close at The Grove Bar & Grill, 100 E. Grove St., Poplar Grove, Ill. They will have a pizza special. Before that, there will be a drink special – $15 wristband all-you-can-drink keg beer, and there will be food specials – a barbecued pulled pork sandwich with a side of barbecued baked beans and potato chips for $7, from 3-8 p.m. After 8, it will go to the bar. At 9 p.m., The Zachary Lane band will perform; they play mostly country music with a twist of rock. Once the band gets going, the bar will offer a number of specials: $1.50 canned beer, $2.50 domestic bottles.

Danielle has had to rely on a few close friends to take care of her every moment of every day – everything from bathing her, cooking her meals, taking her to doctor’s appointments or surgery. But all in all, she says, “I took it as a blessing.” She still has a lot of life to live.

From the May 14-20, 2014, issue

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