News & Stories

Samantha Proves Doctors Wrong


Life can change in an instant. Sixteen-year-old Samantha Allen and her family learned this painful lesson nine years ago when Samantha was struck by a car after stepping off of her school bus. Samantha suffered a “Christopher Reeve-type” spinal cord injury, which left her paralyzed from the neck down.

Samantha’s quality of life is enhanced because of care provided by her mom, Priscilla, and the love and support of her family. CICOA helps the family by providing 12 hours a day of nursing care and physical therapy three times a week for Samantha, plus 16 hours a week of respite care for her mom. CICOA also helped the Allens secure a ramp for the family van and a hospital bed.

Doctors thought Samantha would never eat or smile, but she has proven them wrong. She attends school, sings, enjoys walks in the park, and watches movies and videos. Like many teenagers, Samantha is a big fan of Justin Bieber and Jesse McCartney. Samantha dreams about traveling to all of the Hawaiian Islands one day and “visits” each of them on her favorite travel DVD.

“If people could look beyond her wheelchair, the ventilator and her trach, they would see an amazing person with courage and hope,” says Priscilla.

Samantha is one of an estimated 1.275 million Americans who live with paralysis caused by a spinal cord injury.