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Miss Florida Saved After Near Fatal Car Crash

Miss Florida before near fatal crash

Two weeks after being crowned Miss Florida in 2003, Shauna Pender Vetrano traveled to Miami for a charity event. On her way, during rush-hour traffic, a semi-trailer truck carrying avocados swerved and toppled over onto the car in which Shauna was a passenger.

Firefighters pried Shauna, then 24, out of the car. She was rushed to Ryder Trauma Center and many people believed she would not survive.

In addition to suffering a stroke, Shauna had a torn aorta, numerous broken bones and a paralyzed vocal cord. During her two months as a patient at Ryder Trauma, she underwent a dozen surgeries. Even after leaving the hospital, she required intense rehabilitation and physical therapy.

The crash dramatically altered Shauna’s career path. She dreamed of becoming an actress on Broadway, but the damage to her voice made that physically impossible. Instead, she uses her story of survival to motivate others.

In addition to the unending support of her family and friends, Shauna credits her survival to the medical team that cared for her. “Everyone at Ryder Trauma Center was amazing,” she says. “Had this happened anywhere else, I would be dead. I know that for a fact.”

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