In 1980, on a negative 22 degree Minnesota night, 19-year-old Jean Hilliard was driving home after visiting a friend. Suddenly, she had to swerve out of the way of another driving erratically. Normally, it would be easy enough to gain control. But the road was so icy that she skidded off the road and into a ditch. Scared that she would freeze to death if she stayed in her car, she decided to attempt to walk to a nearby friend’s house. Little did she know, she would barely survive the walk.
Her first mistake was underestimating how far away the friend’s house was. It was a full two miles away. That’s a long way to walk when it’s negative 22 degrees outside. Amazingly, she almost made it to the house. But just before she got there, she collapsed into the snow, face down. And it was already late enough at night that she stayed there, undiscovered for six hours.
It wasn’t until the next morning when a neighbor was leaving for work and saw her lying there in the snow was she discovered. He attempted to wake her, but she did not respond. He Attempted to move her, but her limbs were literally frozen. He knew he had to do something. So he carefully put her into his car and quickly drove her to the hospital.
Once she got there, doctors feared the worst. She had been in the freezing cold, face down in the snow, for six hours. Her eyes wouldn’t respond to light, and they couldn’t get an IV in her arm because her skin was so frozen. So they did the best they could, wrapped her in a heating pad, and prayed for a miracle.
Amazingly, after two or three hours, Jean started to improve. Her heart started beating again, she was taking breaths, and she was even moaning and responding to questions. Although she later recounted that she couldn’t figure out why everyone was asking her what her name is. Of course, she knows her name!
It was truly a miracle. Jean had made a full recovery. And we do mean a full recovery. Not only did she survive the frozen ordeal, she practically came out unscathed. The doctors could not believe that she had no frostbite. They were certain they would at least have to amputate a finger or two. But, they didn’t. And now Jean has an incredible story to tell for the rest of her life.