March 6th, 2012
02:07 PM ET

Indiana mom loses legs saving kids from tornado

[Updated Wednesday, March 7] After we reported on the story of Stephanie Decker, an Indiana mother who shielded her two children from tornadoes and lost her two legs after being pinned by her collapsing house, CNN received an outpouring of support from readers and viewers asking how they could help.

Some wanted to know if they could help pay for her medical bills, others wanted to wish her well, and others hoped to help her and her children because of Decker's act of bravery.

The family has set up The Stephanie Decker Fund and all donations will be sent directly to them.

Donations can be sent to the following address:

Fifth Third Bank

392 S. Indiana Avenue

Sellersburg, IN 47172

Make payable to: The Stephanie Decker Fund

Any questions can be directed to the Sellersburg location at (812) 246-0982 or the Fifth Third Bank Marketing offices at (502) 562-5355.]

You can also lend your help to all of the victims of the recent tornado outbreak by visiting CNN's Impact Your World page, which has various resources and ways to help.

[Posted Tuesday, March 6] A woman in Indiana lost part of both of her legs as she shielded her children from two tornadoes that slammed into their home.

Stephanie Decker was at home Friday when her husband texted her that a tornado was hurtling directly toward their three-story home in Henryville, Indiana.

Just minutes before the tornado swept through, Decker and her young son and daughter huddled in the basement. She covered them with a blanket to try to shield them from debris.

"I was reaching around, holding them and trying to keep everything away from them so it wouldn't hit 'em," Stephanie Decker told CNN affiliate WLKY.

The wreckage broke seven of her ribs and almost completely severed both of her legs.

"I had two steel beams on my legs, and I couldn't move. I was stuck," she told WLKY.

Then, another storm came roaring through. She again covered her children the best she could, taking the brunt of the debris as her home collapsed around her.

Joe Decker said his wife relayed some of the horror on an iPad, because when he first saw her, she was on a ventilator and unable to speak, according to the Louisville Courier-Journal.

As the storm rolled through, Stephanie Decker told her husband, she turned and saw a large piece of debris begin to collapse. She pulled her daughter away just before it came crumbling down, according to the newspaper.

"She just kind of grabbed her and turned," Joe Decker told the Courier Journal. "She doesn't remember anything after that."

"Everything started hitting my back. Beams, pillars, furniture. Everything was just slamming into my back. But I had my children in the blanket, and I was on top of them, and I was reaching around holding them," Stephanie Decker told CNN affiliate WTHR. "And they are screaming, 'Mommy, I can't live without you! I don't want to die! Please don't let me die!' And I said, 'You're not going to die. We're going to make it.' "

The storm passed, and Decker looked around to see her home was gone.

"(I) looked at my leg and realized either it was cut off or it was barely attached," she told WTHR. "I took my phone, and I made a video to my husband, telling him that I love him."

She wasn't sure whether she would survive or how they might escape since they were trapped by the weight of their home.

Her 8-year-old son was able to climb out of the debris, run through the remaining hail and search for help.

Her neighbors, including Brian Lovins, a Clark County sheriff’s officer, came to their rescue, though their homes were being torn apart at the same time.

Lovins was able to use a tourniquet to stanch the bleeding until an ambulance could take her to a hospital.

The children walked away without a scratch.

Despite the loss of part of Stephanie Decker's legs, her husband said, he tried to tell his wife the fact that everyone lived is a miracle in itself.

“What I told her was, ‘You’re alive, and you get to see your kids grow up,’ ” Joe Decker said. “If you look in the basement, there’s no way anybody should have lived, let alone two kids who don’t have a scratch on them.”

soundoff (695 Responses)
  1. abeer

    Great woman and great Mom. Hope she gets well soon.

    March 6, 2012 at 10:44 pm | Report abuse |
  2. BillyJack

    As a first responder working the next county (Jefferson county) over from where Steph and her family live, I recovered the remains of a family I've known my whole life and it's bothered me since. I pray for Stephanie and her family. As for the trolling here, take that crap back to 4chan and keep your nonsense there.

    March 6, 2012 at 10:50 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Hung

    Wow, nothing can be compared to the love of the mother, this story is def touching many broken hearts, i pray God will bless your family and restore things that u ve lost

    March 6, 2012 at 10:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Honest Truth

      Why don't you pray that God will regenerate her legs. I'm sure that will help. HHHHAAAAHHHAAA!!!!

      March 6, 2012 at 11:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dishonest Truth

      What up all you ho-mos! Your favorite butt pirate is back and ready to rock your world! Let's get down and get bizzy. I'll pump your plump rump with my tiny stump. I be rocking 3" (fully extended)!! Drop me your digits you fairies!!

      March 7, 2012 at 10:02 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Mary B.

    What makes anyone sure that her losing legs have anything to do with saving her kids? Don't blindly believe everything you hear. Please. This nation is headed to idiocracy. Just like every soldier that comes from overseas is a hero, even if he didn't do any good there, or murdered some innocent people on top. BS.

    March 6, 2012 at 10:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nick

      Wow, you must get up really early in the morning to build up that much hatred for everybody. I hope a house falls on you soon

      March 7, 2012 at 12:09 am | Report abuse |
  5. Jeff Frank (R-Ohio) "On The Lunatic Fringe"

    We pray for Stephanie Deckers' recovery. She is a true testament to unconditional love for her children.

    March 6, 2012 at 11:02 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Honest Truth

    She should have built a stronger house. Hope she has medical insurance – otherwise it's all you suckers who get to pay for her & her brats.

    March 6, 2012 at 11:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • John

      Honest truth...what's your address? Coward.

      March 6, 2012 at 11:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • kanga

      The story of this woman is what love is all about. You make these remarks about her building a stronger house and her kids being bratts, I know why you say such things, its because you are truly a loser and no one loves you and no one gives a crap about you, you are all alone.

      March 6, 2012 at 11:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • 3204

      hope a tornado does not come through your ugly heart just in time to rip it out. Why are you online anyway. Go hug a pole.

      March 6, 2012 at 11:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ellie

      It takes a sick mind to express sick thoughts guess ... wonder who it is?

      March 6, 2012 at 11:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • sarh Cromarty

      I can't believe what I am hearing..Dear God..I am agnostic but hearing your comments makes me want to throw up
      they survived a catastrophe for gods sake and you think money..are you human? do you have a family? I know if you were in this position you would want some help...MY GOD IGNORANCE!!!!!!!!

      March 7, 2012 at 1:23 am | Report abuse |
    • Honest Truth

      I pump dem dudes and I pound dem boyz! I rock dat pooper and I bust out da toyz! They all want to play with my lil may not be right and feels sooo wrong! Cuz I may be a fruit and so very gayyy, but when they ask for my spoo ill say "its ok"!!

      March 7, 2012 at 9:57 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Tomas Luque

    God Bless this woman and her family

    March 6, 2012 at 11:19 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Lisa C

    The person named "Honest Truth" on this thread displays all of the worst parts of human nature. Why do you feel the need to get on here and abuse and beilttle people you don't even know-the 'honest truth' of it is, I bet in person you would never have the balls to say this to the faces of any of the individuals here, but boy I wish I could meet you in person to give you some 'honest truth'. Get a life and find some joy in your life. This woman did a selfless thing nearly sacrificing her life for those of her children. That is what a mother does. My bet is you have no offspring. I can only hope you don't spawn so your hate and negativity is spread out further into the world. You are a dingbat if you think a 'stronger house' can stand up to the forces of Mother Nature. Go read on some science and physics and get a clue.

    March 6, 2012 at 11:21 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Csher

    There's another hero here – an 8-year-old son who braved the destruction of a storm hardly past to find help for his mother and sister. The courage of a mother to protect her children is awesome. The fact that these parents passed that courage and strength on to their children says even more.

    March 6, 2012 at 11:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nick

      Agreed. That kid is one brave little guy

      March 7, 2012 at 12:11 am | Report abuse |
  10. Dawn

    I cried reading this...that's a mother's love right there. I would protect my baby until I took my last breath. So touching.

    March 6, 2012 at 11:37 pm | Report abuse |
  11. flyskybird

    Wow.... And I thought I Iost everything.... Good luck to you

    March 6, 2012 at 11:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Meg

      hang in there

      March 7, 2012 at 12:17 am | Report abuse |
  12. Alan

    Healing thoughts to all affected by these awful storms. The REAL "people" here wish a speedy recovery and some comfort as to your losses. PS... Bite me COWARDLY trolls

    March 7, 2012 at 12:25 am | Report abuse |
  13. LostMyLegsInVietnam

    HT you made my night!!!

    March 7, 2012 at 12:35 am | Report abuse |
  14. michael

    A VERY sad happening! Where was god? If he was there, why take her legs? I feel for her very MUCH, but proof, every time something like this happens, there is no god. Bad things just can happen!! having been religious, their is no rhyme or reason, nothing can control nature, not even a imaginary god! I wish her the best, she was a hero saving her kids!!!!

    March 7, 2012 at 1:14 am | Report abuse |
  15. Gcobani Ndzongana

    What can we be without women? The answer is NOTHING. May God grant her speedily recovery and paradise she deserve the best. We will always love her and she will remain good for our hearts. Its true "You strike a woman you strike a rock."

    March 7, 2012 at 1:28 am | Report abuse |
    • BB

      It's a good thing that she was there to save them, because your god certainly couldn't.

      March 7, 2012 at 2:28 am | Report abuse |
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