A Lehigh County woman is inspiring others with her story of survival. She overcame tough odds, with the help of a very special friend. WFMZ’s Joscelyn Moes has the story.
Reporter Patti O’Donnell doesn’t go anywhere.. without Raven. The black labrador retriever has been her helper.. and best friend for the past 3 1/2 years. It hasn’t always been easy for Patti.
Patti O’Donnell I just feel so blessed and so lucky to be here today.
Reporter Back in 19-92 this former teacher and cross-country coach had just wrapped up practice with her team at Lehigh University.. when she was hit in the head with a lacrosse ball.. believed to be traveling at about 90 miles an hour.
Patti I started having to retreat into this land of doctors, lawyers, and rehab.
Reporter It wasn’t until 19-97 she was diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury.. and in 2001 she was told she had a nerve disease. It’s been an uphill battle for Patti.. but she’s fought on. Then 3 1/2 years ago she got a service dog.. Raven. He helps her walk, open doors.. he’s even trained to retrieve the phone should there be an emergency. Patti and Raven visit elementary schools together.. she talks about the importance of service dogs.
Patti I just love it cause I’m back teaching again.
Reporter Right now Patti is working on getting her doctorate.. She hopes to be teaching in the classroom again.. one day soon.
Patti My life I see as one of the longest cross-country races I’ve ever run and it’s had its ups and downs but I can see the finish line now.
Reporter Joscelyn Moes.. 69 News.