11 Nov Windermere Homes & Estates real estate agent once told she would never walk again prepares for a 500-mile walk in Spain
Local Windermere real estate agent Carole Stephen-Smith is preparing for a 500-mile walk on Camino del Santiago, also known as the Path of Saint James, in northwestern Spain. Many take up this route as a form of spiritual path or retreat for their spiritual growth, Stephen-Smith is doing the walk to celebrate how far she has come since tragic events changed her life in 2005.
On March 25, 2005, Stephen-Smith a 30-year Palm Springs resident and real estate agent, was driving home to Palm Springs, crying, as she had just made the decision to leave her husband. Feeling numb throughout her body she looked down over the lights in Coachella Valley and fell asleep at the wheel, causing her car to flip three times until it was stopped by hitting a wall.
Three truck drivers rushed to Stephen-Smith’s car. One of the men stopped and said “No, the car is going to blow at any second.” They almost turned away from the car until one of the men heard Stephen-Smith say, “Please, don’t let me die.” The men dragged her out of the car to safety.
“I don’t remember much after that,” said Stephen-Smith. “I do remember overhearing a paramedic say ‘this one is gone,’ as the ambulance arrived on the scene.”
Stephen-Smith was rushed to the hospital in critical condition, where she learned her back was broken in several places, and her neck broken. Her family was told she would likely never walk again.
“They said there was a very small chance that I would ever walk again,” said Stephen-Smith. “But even a small chance was enough for me to try!”
Just three months after the accident, Carole started walking again – slowly but determined to get her life back. She was feeling so strong and confident, that in July of 2005 she decided to go on a cruise from Japan to Honolulu. “Every day I was on the cruise, I walked laps on the top deck of the ship,” she said. “That way, I could tell people that I walked on water all the way from Japan to Honolulu!”
Walking was therapeutic for Stephen-Smith and helped her regain strength over time. Over the past 10 years, Stephen-Smith’s walking has turned into a passion, Taking up Hiking 3 years ago and dropping 60 pounds along the way and now she is preparing for a 500-mile walk on Camino del Santiago in Spain in September 2016
“Preparing for this walk has been a challenge and a special personal journey for me. I’m so lucky to have support from my family at Windermere,” Carole said. “They’ve given me the encouragement and motivation I need to complete this walk. They know it means a lot to me, so to have their support throughout the process means so much.”
Brian Gooding, co-owner of Windermere Homes & Estates said, “Carole’s drive and determination is inspiring. We have no doubt this is just one of many exciting journeys she will successfully complete in her lifetime.”