Editor's note: While this video contains no graphic images, it does contain graphic descriptions of Heather’s accident and injuries. This content may not be suitable for all viewers and readers.
Five days before Christmas 2021, Heather Van Boerum was heading into Costco when a driver accidentally hit the gas instead of the brakes and pinned her between two cars in the parking lot, instantly severing one leg and crushing the other.
Even since the earliest months after her accident, Heather has been very vocal about telling her story and sharing her biggest takeaways from the traumatic and life-altering experience. Now in a new video from the Tell Your Story YouTube channel, Heather’s husband Don and their daughter Anika share some of the miracles they experienced during that time too.
For example, Anika was 38 weeks pregnant at the time of the accident and delivered her baby girl just eight days later in the same hospital where her mom was recovering. Heather was rolled into the delivery room and got to hold her daughter’s hand as she gave birth. The baby was named Greta Heather.
Heather’s husband Don also shares his side of the story in the video about the miracles he experienced: The hospital where he was working at the time of the accident was just a few hundred yards away from the Costco parking lot where Heather was hit, so he was able to be at the scene of the accident and be beside his wife in a manner of minutes. From his career working as a surgeon specializing in trauma and motor vehicle accidents, he also knows firsthand just how lucky they are to have Heather alive today.
“I would be a fool and a liar if I didn’t acknowledge the multiple times where I’ve personally seen God acting on our behalf,” Don says. “Watching Heather grow and go through this and become even more beautiful in multiple ways is tremendous.”
Such a life-changing experience could have made someone turn inward or turn away from God, but not Heather. She says that her membership in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the knowledge she has of Jesus Christ has helped her immensely. In fact, while she was in the hospital, she says, “it became very clear to me that my Savior was walking through this experience with me.”
Heather spent roughly 44 hours in the operating room immediately following the accident. During her four-week stay in the hospital, she had a photo of the Savior mounted on her wall.
“It reminded me of what Christ had gone through, and I had decided right there in the hospital that I wanted to become a disciple of Christ, a follower, one that was [exemplifying] his example and His attributes in life. And I knew that was my purpose on this earth.”
Sometime after the accident, Heather and Don’s son also suggested sending a letter of forgiveness to the man who mistakenly hit the gas instead of the breaks in the parking lot that day. Along with the letter, they also gave the man a Christus statue for Christmas.
“It was so beautiful. This letter allowed me to move on immediately. … And I watched my children come to that place of forgiveness, too; that place of ‘we just want to move forward.’ And I’m so happy they did that because it really helped me be able to do [that] as well.”
You can watch the entire 17-minute video from Tell Your Story in the player below.
Heather has been quick to recognize that the miracles that followed, both big and small, have been remarkable. One of those miracles was the woman who held Heather’s hand immediately following the accident. Heather recalled that moment in a conversation with Morgan Pearson in a June 2022 episode of the All In podcast:
She didn’t know why she was there. She had never been to that Costco. Her father had died the week before. And she had gone over to the mall, she walked around the mall, [and] left without buying anything. She just really did not even know why she was there. And then she went over to Costco, really didn’t buy much, and was just leaving when she saw the accident. And she actually had pulled away and thought, "I don’t have anything to offer whatever that person is going through," and something made her go back. And I truly believe she was put there to comfort me and to be my mother at that time. She ... didn’t know [this] at the time, but I had lost my father as well. And I felt his presence there. And she said she felt like she was there to be a mother figure to me.
You can also hear more from Heather about her experience from her interview on the All In podcast in June 2022 in the player below.