Meet Bethany and Chloe
For years, young sisters Bethany and Chloe saved the money in their piggy banks to bring to the annual Mix 106.5 radiothon to help patients and families at Johns Hopkins Children’s Center. What they couldn’t have known was that years later, they would be rushed to the Children’s Center after a horrific car accident, and that they would become recipients of the care they had supported for so long.
On a Sunday in 2020, Bethany and Chloe, 12 and 15 years old, had big plans to spend the afternoon on the water with their father and stepmother. Stopped at a red light, Chloe remembers, it suddenly felt like they were spinning. It took her a moment to realize their car had been hit by another vehicle.
“I started hearing screaming,” Chloe recalls, “and then I realized I was saying, ‘Oh my God, oh my God!’” With her three family members unconscious, Chloe needed to remove herself from the wreckage and call 911. “I just knew I had to be the one to do it,” she says, “because no one else in the car was going to be able to.”
When Bethany woke up, she saw the terrible scene. The car’s windows were shattered, and several good Samaritans were trying to help get them out. Pain in Bethany’s leg, which she could see was caught between the back and front seats, was excruciating.
A driver had struck the car from behind at over 80 miles per hour, causing the vehicle to fly over a guardrail and land facing oncoming traffic. The girls’ mother, Cindy, got a phone call that no parent would ever want to receive.
“I heard Bethany’s little voice in the background just say, ‘Am I gonna die?’” Cindy says about the call with Chloe. Cindy raced to meet her daughters at Johns Hopkins Children’s Center, where Chloe was diagnosed with a concussion, and X-rays showed that Bethany’s pelvis had been cracked in two places. Bethany was admitted with blood in her urine and unstable blood pressure.
“She’s in good hands,” Cindy recalls a nurse saying, after giving Cindy a much needed hug. “We’ve got her.”
Bethany spent 24 hours at the Children’s Center under the care of Paul Sponseller, M.D., chief of pediatric orthopaedics, before returning home in a wheelchair. Bethany knew she was facing months of physical therapy to learn how to move and walk again. Chloe had her own battle ahead: As the sole passenger awake during the entire crash, she would spend months focusing on her mental health and working through anxiety about getting in cars.
Recalling their experience and their care at the Children’s Center, Bethany says, “It could happen to anybody — what happened to me — and you never know when you might walk through those doors. I never thought I would, but I did, and Johns Hopkins Children’s Center saved my life.”
The family remembers that each year, when it has a chance to give back to the Children’s Center during the Mix 106.5 radiothon. When asked what the Children’s Center means to them, Chloe says it best: “Johns Hopkins means hope.”