After Shayna's first jump out of an airplane, she says she was hooked. The skydiving student soon fell for her instructor, Rick, and began jumping more and more often. "Shayna was one of my best students ever," Rick says.
In October 2005, Rick took Shayna up for her 10th jump. With a camera mounted on his helmet, the couple leapt out of the plane in unison. At first, Rick says it looked like Shayna had a perfect skydive, but then, he saw her spinning out of control and start to plummet toward the ground. "I was praying to God, 'Save this girl, because I can't,'" he says.
Shayna fell 11,000 feet and slammed into the ground—face first. When Rick arrived at her side, something amazing happened…she sat up and started talking. Shayna had broken every bone in her face, lost five teeth, broke her right leg and shattered her eye sockets, but she was alive.
Looking back, Shayna says she can remember the terror she felt right before she hit the ground. "I saw everything I've ever loved, everything I've ever dreamed of doing just end," she says. "I started thinking about my family. I started thinking about my friends. I started thinking about my goals and everything that I wasn't ready to give up yet."
While recovering from her fall, Shayna also learned that she was two-weeks pregnant. Though her injuries were extensive, she and Rick now have a healthy baby boy!
After five difficult years of marriage, Joddi left her husband, Jason, took their 5-year-old daughter, Taylor, and moved in with her mother. In June 2005, after bringing Taylor home, Jason and Joddi got into a heated argument that took a tragic turn.
As Joddi turned to go inside her house, her estranged husband stabbed her in the chest with a four-inch hunting knife. The knife punctured her heart. "It was so fast that I couldn't even say 'stop,'" she says. "I couldn't put my arms in front of me. I couldn't do anything."
Joddi ran inside, called 911 and waited for paramedics to arrive as she lay on the floor, bleeding heavily. "I didn't feel anything," she says. "I felt very warm—just like a lot of blood rushing."
Once she was inside an ambulance, Joddi says she felt like she couldn't breathe, but stayed awake during the entire ride and during painful procedures at the hospital. "If I went to sleep, I didn't think I'd wake up," she says. "My babies kept me awake."
Dr. David Zich, professor of emergency medicine at Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine, says the fact that Joddi survived is amazing. "Nobody would describe you as lucky because you got stabbed in the heart, and I'm very sorry that happened, but it was a miracle," he says. "You had six ways you could have died."
Joddi's husband was convicted of attempted murder and aggravated assault and is currently serving 20 years in prison.
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