After years of hard work in nursing school, Karen Crespo was finally reaping the rewards as a Registered Nurse at a prestigious Los Angeles hospital. In 2011, Karen was diagnosed with a severe form of bacterial meningitis, meningococcemia, a life-threatening illness. In order to save her life, doctors eventually had no choice except to have all four of her extremities amputated. Due to this debilitating illness, Karen suffered a great loss to herself and to her quality of life — something we all take for granted until it is gone.

With a less than 10% chance of survival, doctors and nurses were preparing family and friends for what they presumed inevitable. An “Angel” was watching over Karen as she survived 2 mild heart attacks, a blood clot in her brain, kidney failure, and respiratory failure just to name a few.

The bacteria was so aggressive Karen lost her nose in its entirety, part of her right ear which eventually grew back, some of her hearing in both ears, her hair, her entire top lip that was saved with reconstructive surgery, and has skin grafts on almost every part of her body. When she finally opened her eyes after being in a coma for 15 days everything had changed. She and her loved ones realized that life would no longer be the same and that the road ahead would be long and challenging

Prior to this illness, Karen had a heart full of dreams. Today, Karen has a heart full of courage.