Several years ago on 20/20 on ABC , I watched the story of an amazing young girl, who confirmed my belief that we can indeed overcome great tests and challenges with positive attitude and our own healing energy.
Brittney Bergeron (Himmel), then sixteen, survived the unthinkable in 2003. At the young age of ten, she was left home alone to care for not only herself, but her three year old sister as well. Her mother and father struggled with their own demons of drugs and alcohol and for several years Brittney had been bounced back and forth between them. At best, her home life was unstable.
She was then, living in a trailer park some 80 miles outside of Las Vegas. The ten year old, Brittney, and three year old “Sissy” were left alone while their mother and new boyfriend gambled at a nearby hotel. This very act is Child Abuse and reckless endangerment of children. AND…the worst did happen; it always does. While the young girls were alone, two teens from the area, a brother and sister, themselves from a troubled home…broke into the trailer and brutally attacked both girls. They had been dupped in a drug deal by Brittney’s mother and were seeking revenge. They found it!
Both girls were stabbed with a butcher knife repeatedly. The three year old died in the hospital, but Brittney survived. She was paralyzed from the waist down and for the past six years has been in a wheelchair. But, this is when “… my life got good” she amazingly says.
With her mother in jail, Brittney was placed in a foster home. It was here, although confined to a wheelchair, that with love and caring from exceptional people, the Himmels, she started to heal. It mattered little to her that she could not walk like most young girls…what mattered most was that she was LOVED and cared for. Case positive that all things are relative in life. For a normal child, from a normal home…paralysis would have sent the entire family into a tailspin.
The Himmels, who had long cared for children with “special needs” saw this as nothing out of the ordinary. They encouraged Brittney to participate in wheelchair athletics. Instead of feeling sorry for herself, this young girl felt the need to make not only the Himmels proud, but herself as well. Recently, Brittney was adopted by the Himmels after years and years of her birth mother fighting the adoption.
Brittney Bergeron Himmel is an amazing example of honor and positive, self- healing energy. She gives honor not only to herself , but to all who are challenged physically. Integrity is hers by the mere fact she is not wallowing in self pity. What this young woman seems to grasp…is that she is not “dead” like her sister killed that fateful night…but alive. LIFE, that is the gift; the tests and challenges, even Childhood Abuse…they are all relative. The journey is the destination. Live it well and heal. Sue