She Gives and Gives
March 1996

“She Gives and Gives,” Ensign, Mar. 1996, 70

She Gives and Gives

At age seventeen, Jeanne Lewis was roughhousing with a group of friends when she suddenly felt the brunt of too much weight on her back. A numbing shock passed through her bones and ligaments, and she cried out, “I’ve broken my neck, and I’m paralyzed!”

Doctors told Jeanne’s parents that she would never again move below her shoulders, but Jeanne did not lose hope. During her time in the hospital, she underwent a regimen that included attaching fifty-pound weights to her shaven head and rotating her body on a frame every two hours. One doctor wanted to brace her wrist, but Jeanne’s friends kept regularly manipulating it until the wrist gained some movement. Hospital personnel tried to issue her an electric wheelchair, but Jeanne refused because she wanted to keep her muscles toned by using a manual chair. “I’d rather have the hurdles,” she said. Instead of accepting home tutoring, Jeanne went back to high school as soon as she could.

At first, members of Jeanne’s ward and volunteers from neighboring wards visited her three times a day to help her exercise. More than twenty-five years after Jeanne’s injury, members still assist her five times a week with exercises that range from wheeling her chair for two miles and standing for half an hour in a special frame to swimming in her backyard pool.

Today, Jeanne is employed full-time helping people solve computer problems over the telephone. She regularly attends the temple, and she currently serves as a counselor in her ward’s Young Women presidency. Her past activities have included coaching Young Women volleyball and basketball and teaching Primary. She has also tutored children and teenagers, earned a real estate license, and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in psychology from California’s San Jose State University.

“I just don’t know what I would have done without the support I’ve received,” Jeanne says. “I take and take and take. So many people do so many things for me.”

“But Jeanne also gives and gives and gives,” replies her mother, Beverly, with whom Jeanne lives in the Robertsville Ward, San Jose California South Stake.—Margaret Woods, Walsall, England

Photo by Margaret Woods