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Amanda Arthur Shares Get-Well Gifts

April 03, 1998|HOPE HAMASHIGE

Amanda Arthur, the Newport Beach teenager who spent weeks in a coma after a highly publicized car crash, visited Western Medical Center-Santa Ana on Thursday to give away dozens of stuffed animals she received during her hospitalization.

"I was thinking that a bunch of these people will get better if I give these back, because I got better," the 18-year-old Arthur said.

When Arthur left the medical center June 30, 1997, she was still paralyzed and unable to speak. When she returned Thursday she was walking, albeit slowly and with the help of a physical therapist, and talking softly with the hospital staff and patients.

"A bunch of the doctors said they didn't believe it was me," Arthur said. "I was much worse back then."

Arthur delivered dozens of stuffed animals to sick children in the hospital's pediatric unit.

As part of her ongoing therapy to rebuild her manual dexterity, Arthur spent the last several days decorating the animals to make them even more special for the recipients.

She adorned some with pearl necklaces, others carried bouquets of satin rosebuds, and others were decked out in lace skirts. Each one had a teeny card attached that was stamped with a message from Amanda.

As she handed out the gifts, Arthur told each child the same thing: "You're going to recover just like I did," she said.

Arthur was thrown from a vehicle that overturned while carrying 10 Newport Harbor High School students. One youth was killed.

The driver was convicted of a misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter charge and faces up to a year in jail.

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