A tragic accident gives a local teen a new outlook on life.
The morning of Nov. 26 was unlike any other for 16-year-old Destiny Mikes, daughter of Robert and Beth Mikes, as she donned her favorite flannel and American Eagle jeans.
Destiny left her house at 10:15 a.m. for an appointment at 11 a.m.
She had flowers to take to the memorial of recently deceased Robbie and Wyatt Smith, Benjamin Logan High School students who died in a November car accident.
While driving down Township Road 230, Destiny said an SUV came into view when she swerved to miss it. She tried to regain control, she spun out, crossing over the road and striking a tree.
When her car came to a stop, she managed to call 9-1-1 and then phoned her mom, Beth Mikes.
“I hadn’t realized how bad it was,” Destiny remembered.
While she was waiting for emergency personnel, Destiny said she started to panic when she realized her left arm was “mangled and torn.”
Off-duty State Wildlife Officer Adam Smith was the first to arrive on-scene and took quick action.
Smith put a tourniquet on Destiny’s arm — something she is convinced saved her life.
“It’s the reason I am still alive today,” she said.
But her critical situation was not out of the woods yet. Destiny was trapped in her vehicle.
Responding firefighters had to cut off the door to get to Destiny, finally freeing her.
“I then picked up my arm that had been ripped to pieces and walked to the stretcher,” she said. “I then was taken a mile away from the accident where I was then put into a helicopter.”
Emergency personnel sedated Destiny, but during the trip her sedation tube fell out, bringing her awake in a state of agony.
“I could feel everything,” she said. “I was screaming.”
Once she arrived at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, she was rushed into surgery.
Destiny said she was in and out of consciousness, and remembers vaguely hearing about the possible amputation of her arm.
But it wasn’t until she spoke with her mom after one of her five surgeries that she learned the full extent of her injuries — and her amputation.
“I didn’t understand at first,” she said. “It took me three days to accept the fact.”
In addition to her arm amputation, Destiny also has 10 staples in her leg.
But after accepting her injuries, Destiny found it in herself to see a second chance at living.
She reflected that she’s had a lot of loss in her life and also has depression and anxiety
“I hated myself,” she said. “I hated this world. But now I know what I have and my family is the best thing that’s ever happened to me. I didn’t appreciate them before. I didn’t really appreciate anything, but now it’s different.”
Destiny said her accident has taught her that nothing is promised.
“I am meant to be here,” she said. “I have so much purpose. I hate that it took this for me to understand that I am worth so much. I am blessed and this life is a blessing.”
Destiny is now back at home and happy to be alive.
She has found inspiration in her best friend Haylee Saylor, a cancer survivor and leg amputee.
“She understands me like no one else and I am beyond thankful,” she said.
Her plans to become a registered nurse after finishing her State Tested Nursing Assistant program at Ohio Hi-Point in May are unchanged.
She does, however, have another new goal in addition to her old ones.
Destiny said she wants to inspire others.
“I hope to be a motivational speaker so I can give back to this world,” she said.