By Anne Eickstadt

ANNE EICKSTADT PHOTOS Belvidere Republican
Kara Bye and her family thank the first responders who saved her life last year when she had an accident.


It was just a year ago this month that Kara Bye was fighting for her life.

She was in a serious car accident in Boone County near Caledonia on April 23, 2018 that left her with a fractured skull, arm, leg, and neck. Firefighters from Boone County Fire Protection District 2 had to extricate an unconscious Bye from the car. OSF Lifeline Ambulance EMT’s Josie Ostler and Angel Cardona then rushed Bye to OSF HealthCare Saint Anthony Medical Center.

She spent two weeks in the hospital, much of that time in a coma. Now, a year later and following the latest of many surgeries, Bye wanted to personally thank the first responders she credits with saving her life.

“We don’t often hear what happens afterwards,” said Paramedic Josie Ostler. “This makes us feel good about what we are doing.”

“We do what we can, but reunions,,, come not so often. We like to know that we were able to make a difference,” said Paramedic Angel Cardona.

“The best part is knowing that we made a difference,” Ostler said.

“I am always curious and I want to know the outcome. I was just thinking about this call. I wondered what happened to this patient (Bye),” Cardona said.

Three Boone County Sheriff’s Deputies were on hand during the Bye’s rescue – Dep. Burbach, Dept. Smith, and Dep. Prine. Deputy Tanya Prine was able to join the reunion gathering at the Boone County District 2 fire station. “We received a call about a single vehicle accident on Rte. 76,” she said. “The vehicle was inverted and Bye was trapped inside. I broke out a window and Dep. Burbach and I assisted with her care before she was extricated (by BC Fire District #2 firefighters) and she was transported by medical (OSF Lifeline Ambulance).”

Boone County firefighter Matthew Eby was also on scene and rode in the ambulance to assist.

“Usually we don’t see this very often,” said Eby. “We usually don’t know what the outcome is for most patients. It’s kind of nice to see it and actually get thanked for it.”

The meeting was one of joy, celebration, and tears. Bye told the group that because of them, she can celebrate this Easter with her three children (all under 10) and her family. She says she had to learn to walk all over again and often wanted to give up — but is happy the situation has now come full circle.

“I was tired and I would just look at [my kids] and said I can’t give up,” said Bye. “I want them to see that no matter what happens to you in life, you can…

For complete article, pick up the April 25 Belvidere Republican.

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