This pastAugust In August 2008, blogger and mother-of-four Stephanie Nielson, 27, along with her husband Christian, 29, was seriously injured in a small-plane crash in eastern Arizona. Their plane had exploded upon impact, taking the life of their flight instructor.
Stephanie suffered severe burns on more than 80 percent of her body and was kept in a medically-induced coma while doctors treated her wounds. Christian was burned on his face and neck and was also struggling to recover. In just three weeks, the hospital bills topped $2 million – and the couple’s insurance only paid for the first $1 million.
In an attempt to update friends about the couple, Stephanie’s sister began posting on Stephanie's site The NieNie Dialogues. At first, it was meant to keep everyone informed on her medical progress, but it soon turned into an international support group. It was once a blog that received roughly 1,000 visitors a day, but following the incident, it quickly climbed to 20,000. And it wasn’t just those curious about the horrific accident – it was a strong network of people wanting to help.
One of the blog readers even started an online auction that became so popular it grew to over 350 donated items. It was an outpouring of people ready and willing to help raise funds for the Nielsen family and by the end of the auction, they raised as much as $100,000. “The amount of people who have come forward with love and support and offers of help has just been overwhelming for us,” said Christopher Clark, Stephanie’s brother, in an interview with TODAY. “It’s really amazing for us to see this kind of response from people we don’t even know.”
Stephanie eventually came out of her coma, but the road to recovery was far from easy. She’s in near constant physical pain and the burns left her nearly unrecognizable to her children.
On Tuesday, Stephanie, Christian and their young children will be on TODAY at 8:00 A.M. to discuss their amazing recovery and how they survived with the support of their family and blog readers. The family will discuss what life was like following the crash, how they’re recovering and how they intend to spend their first Thanksgiving as a family since the accident.
For information about the recovery fund for Stephanie and Christian Nielson, visit The NieNie Dialogues.