• Ora Lee OliverThere’s something about Ora Oliver that makes you want to sit down and stay for a while. Maybe it’s the way she calls everybody “Baby.” Or her infectious laugh. Maybe it’s that her life has an abundance of love, and she’s quick to share it with others. Whatever it is, this 74-year-old Savannah resident knows she’s lucky to be alive, and she feels grateful for every day.

    On February 7, 2009, Oliver was running errands. She needed to cross Savannah’s bustling Abercorn Street to get from Savannah Mall to a grocery store on the other side of the road. That’s the last thing she remembers about that day.

    “I was trying to get to the Kroger store, and then I don’t know what happened. I ended up at Memorial, and for about three weeks I really did not know what was going on,” said Oliver.

    She was hit by a truck while crossing Abercorn. An ambulance rushed her to the Level 1 trauma center at Memorial University Medical Center (MUMC), where she spent three weeks drifting in and out of consciousness. Oliver had a head injury, broken bones in her face, and a broken left arm. She remembers being visited by nieces, nephews, and friends from around the country.

    “They all helped me get through it. They came to help and they brought so much love. That love is for real,” said Oliver.

    With their support and her own sheer determination, she began the slow healing process. After three weeks in the hospital, she was moved to The Rehabilitation Institute at MUMC. There she began physical therapy for her arm and occupational and speech therapy for her other injuries. At times, the rehabilitation process can be grueling, but Oliver took everything in stride. In fact, there were some aspects of rehabilitation that she thoroughly enjoyed.

    “The people in rehab were all so sweet, and the food was very good. I just can’t say enough good things about it [The Rehabilitation Institute], and believe me baby, I don’t lie,” said Oliver with a laugh.

    Following three weeks of inpatient therapy, she was well enough to be discharged for outpatient therapy. Oliver stayed with her niece for a while, but now has her own place in a senior living complex. She lives a fulfilling, independent life and considers every day a blessing.