For millions around the United States, Memorial Day Weekend is a time of celebration, serving as the unofficial kickoff to summer. Around 5 p.m. on the afternoon of Randi’s birthday, May 31st, 2021 near Dixie Highway on Ring Road in Elizabethtown, KY, Randy Hawksley and her partner, Tori Grant, were on their way home from a wonderful weekend on the lake. While crossing through an intersection, another vehicle t-boned their vehicle, causing the car to roll 7 or 8 times. Randi’s arm was hanging out the window at the time, and incurred significant damage. Randi passed out on impact. Tori, coincidentally, was in a similar vehicle accident which had occurred 13 months prior, and was still recovering from injuries that had occurred that night. Rather than worrying about her own injuries, Tori looked over and noticed Randi bleeding profusely from the arm, “...and probably had 90 seconds before I would bleed out. I had 5 units out of 11 left in my body when I arrived at the hospital.” Reaching into the back of the car, Tori grabbed a belt, and applied a tourniquet, using her foot to brace against Randi’s chest in an effort to stop the bleeding while waiting for EMS to arrive. Tori notes, “Her arm had one tendon that was holding it together. Granted, there was still flesh and muscle, but the arm was shredded.”
The two were taken to UofL Health ICU for their injuries. Randi was taken to the burn unit for 25 days, and had 7 surgeries over that amount of time. The staff were initially able to save Randi’s arm, but after weeks of painful follow-up procedures and complications, the decision was made to amputate Randi’s arm. The relief was almost immediate, resulting in a complete change in Randi’s mood. “My pain never went below a 7…which made me snappy and mean, not me at all.” Randi sustained additional injuries including road rash throughout her body.
Despite all of this, Randi and Tori continue to live their lives as fully as they can. Randi notes, “It [trauma] definitely changes your life, but it doesn’t have to change it for the worse. You just gotta keep moving.”