InĀ  June of 2008, Janelle Phillips was in a car collision in Lethbridge and can still recall being at the scene, unable to move her legs.

She was taken by ground ambulance to the Lethbridge Hospital, where medical staff promptly decided she needed to get to the spinal unit at the Foothills Hospital in Calgary and called for STARS to transport her.

“The STARS crew helped me get through the trauma I had just sustained,” she said.

On her arrival at Foothills, Janelle learned that her spinal break was only a millimeter away from leaving her permanently paralyzed.

“I was taken in for immediate surgery,” said Janelle. “Fortunately, with how quickly everyone acted and with STARS coming to get me, I woke up and could wiggle my toes.”

Janelle spent two weeks in Foothills and was in a full back brace for three months, but she was able to return to her final year of studies at the University of Lethbridge that fall.

She completed her degree in education in 2009 and was crowned later that year as one of the 2010 Calgary Stampede Princesses.

“I am so grateful for STARS and what they did for me,” said Janelle. “My whole life revolves around being active, and I’m so grateful to do the things I’ve always loved to do.”

Today, Janelle is a school teacher and an active STARS spokesperson and volunteer.

Meet more of our VIPS