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. Best

    Why people always blaming God when bad things happen, why not the devil? because God created everything? all i know is we are in a fallen world, and that God that is so loving, will reward his people. ive had so many trgedies myself, ive wondered why they are allowed to happen. but ive also seen God give me some impossible(wonderful) things. so if God breaks through here & blesses us sometimes, even though we have free will, how much more grand he will reward us. im so happy for this mom who survived! brave

    March 8, 2012 at 12:06 am | Report abuse |
  2. sabinabarnes

    God bless you and your family.

    March 8, 2012 at 12:19 am | Report abuse |
  3. wakeups

    WOW, you are some soul-less sad sacks. This woman lost her LEGS protecting her children. What have you done today, this week, this year, in your life that even compares? That's what you should all be pondering.

    March 8, 2012 at 12:36 am | Report abuse |
  4. schatzi

    some of you children of God really make me chuckle.....God from what I understand, does allow things to happen as they are meant to be......sometimes things just happen! But he is there to give you strength and comfort to make it through some very difficult times in our lives if we chose to believe and let God! He gave us free will and free minds to make our own dicissions how ever we choose.....If we choose wrong then we have no one to blame but ourselves.....He did leave alot of knowledge of his word behind through many people who shared his messages to all to help us be better people and good christians....We all sin of one thing or another, but it is asking God for his forgiveness if we truely mean it and desire it, he will forgive. We also have our time to go, written in the book of life. It was not her time or her children's time to go yet. Yes she lost her legs saving her children, but I'd be willing to bet that she is going to be stronger inside for it and yes, If she is a believer of Our Lord and Savior, she will make it and live and be happy no matter what a random storm took away from her. I know and believe that God exist, and my life is better for it and I can't wait till he finally takes me home to live in his house, where there is no pain, sickness, hunger or hate. It is your choice if you choose to believe or not believe, but I will pray for you non believers to find God in your heart before it is too late for your soul. All the answers that you may seek, are in the holy bible.... God Bless all of you, believers and non. 🙂

    March 8, 2012 at 1:12 am | Report abuse |
  5. schatzi

    This is to Ira; You must have suffered something very sad in your life to make you want to turn your back on God.....That is the worst thing a once believer can do in the eyes of God! If you denounce him than I'm afraid that your soul will remain with satan forever after your death.....I know you won't except my prayers for you for what ever so terriable you feel has happened to you, but Thank the Lord, I don't need your permission to pray for your soul, which is what I can and will do. I'm really sorry that your life is that sad and terriable.....My prayer is that someday, somehow, by someone,THAT YOU WILL BELIEVE IN GOD AGAIN AND LET HIM REIGN OVER YOUR LIFE FOREVER......Amen! Amen!!!! 🙂

    March 8, 2012 at 1:23 am | Report abuse |
  6. ma & pa

    God bless this wonderful Mom and family and like minded folk, Please. Amen.

    March 8, 2012 at 1:27 am | Report abuse |
  7. ma & pa

    Needz..ur words same..s.e. minn..where u..ur words same

    March 8, 2012 at 1:46 am | Report abuse |
  8. Tough_GUY

    This woman has cared for her children. I just hope that God will bless her.

    March 8, 2012 at 4:00 am | Report abuse |
  9. Charly Brains

    The amazing love of a mother makes miracles...! =)

    March 8, 2012 at 4:21 am | Report abuse |
  10. Asre

    God is good all the time and all the time God is good. What a brave act by a mother and a miracle from God. May the peace that passes all understanding be with this family as they heal. It certainly will take years. You are in our thoughts and prayers.

    March 8, 2012 at 6:26 am | Report abuse |
  11. L.K.

    My wishes n prayers r with this lovely lady who lost her limbs in order to secure her kids well being. Everything is for a reaso u just have to believe it.

    March 8, 2012 at 8:10 am | Report abuse |
  12. mlb00

    Mom, what a mom you are, a true hero. Your children are truly blessed that you survived, and dont you ever forget that!!! I hope you and your family have the most wonderful lives from this point on!!!

    March 8, 2012 at 9:13 am | Report abuse |
  13. lins

    see in canada – if you saved your familyy – you never ever need to figure out how to pay for your medical bills. we dont let these devestating events – put you in debt for ever.

    March 8, 2012 at 9:34 am | Report abuse |
  14. Jason

    HGTV needs to build this family a new house.

    March 8, 2012 at 9:53 am | Report abuse |
  15. elgatoblanco

    I have to say, when the chips are down, we Hoosiers really pull together. Kudos to you lady. Your legs are up in leg heaven.

    March 8, 2012 at 10:25 am | Report abuse |
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