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Archive for October 11th, 2012

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Nancy Lower. Photo: heraldextra

Nancy Lower fell from a rooftop in Mauritania while working as a medical director for the Peace Corps in 1999. As she lay on the ground looking up at her husband, George, she knew she was seriously injured and that she had to stay conscious.

“I knew immediately that my neck was broken,” Lower said. “I felt all the energy draining from the lower part of my body. I knew I had to keep my eyes open to avoid a coma and to make myself breathe.”

Forty-eight hours later she arrived in Geneva, Switzerland, for neck surgery. Although her spinal cord had not been severed the scarring from her accident left her a reverse quadriplegic. She cannot move her upper body and has very little movement in her lower body. She spends most of her day in a wheelchair.

Members of the Springville Community Presbyterian Church decided to raise money for Lower with a dinner on Oct. 27. The funds will be used to help pay for the caregivers Nancy and George need to stay together in their home and help with medical costs not covered by insurance.

“After my illnesses of the past few months I have had some setbacks.¬†I actually was able to move four steps today for the first time using a walker,” Lower said with a smile. “Last winter I had pneumonia, several strokes, seizures and cardiac arrest but I am finding joy in my life and I still enjoy many things. I love to read especially books about joy. I love to read the New Testament. I love Romans 8:28, which tells us that we know that all things work together for good to them that love God. Now at age 76 I am rejoicing and remembering and sorting.”

The Lowers enjoy going to plays throughout the valley and attend sporting events and search out local ethnic restaurants. They are looking forward to going to the BYU-Oregon State game with tickets they received because of George’s service as a pastor at the Orem Community Church. Reverend Lower is now 81, and before his wife’s accident he had retired as the pastor at the Springville Presbyterian Church.

The Lowers changed their retirement plans and came back to Springville to a renovated home prepared by the Presbyterian congregation and the LDS ward in the area. While George Lower is busy with his congregation in Orem, Nancy continues to lift everyone around her with her gifts and notes of encouragement. Although she is unable to use her hands, she paints with watercolors using her mouth. She is the choir director for her congregation and coordinates the music for their services.

“We have been married for 51 years,” George Lower said. “We enjoy doing many things together and yes, I do spend a lot time caring for Nancy. Without the caregivers we have it would be impossible for her to live at home with me. They are my right arm.”

“My caretakers are extensions of my hands,” Nancy Lower said. “My husband, George, feeds me, puts me to bed every night and even helps me garden by lifting me up so I can be a part of the planning and planting. My daughter Emily now lives with us and helps care for me and takes care of the house. I also have three part-time caregivers who come in and they are wonderful.”

Rocio Rivas comes three days a week to cook and help Lower shower and dress. She was hoping to find a position caring for just one person after working in a large assisted living facility.

“Nancy is always happy — every morning I ask her how she is doing and every morning she says good and smiles her happy smile,” Rivas said. “I love her and she inspires me to do many things. I am writing my childhood stories because of her example. I have my own garden here because I live in a small apartment. That is how kind the Lowers are to me and to everyone.”

Carol Day is part of the committee of friends from the Springville Community Presbyterian Church who decided to raise money for Lower.

“Nancy is such an inspiring woman. She has done so much for so many people and now it is our chance to do something for her,” Day said. “We are having a delicious dinner and great entertainment at the Springville Senior Center on Saturday, Oct. 27 from 6 p.m. until 9 p.m. Jonah Hadlock is a very talented composer and performer and he will provide some of the entertainment along with the Lower’s granddaughters.”

Tickets for the fundraiser are $15 for the dinner and entertainment. To purchase tickets or make a donation, call the Days at (801) 489-5168, the church offices at (801) 489-4309, or emailscpcoffice@gmail.com.

Friends raising funds for quadriplegic woman.

October 2012
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