Deanne Stein, News 9

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Dana Howard worked in the call center for AT&T in Oklahoma City. It was at work last November when she knew something wasn't right.

"I felt like I wanted to faint," she said. "I worked half of my shift and when I went to lunch, it just hit me all of a sudden."

She went home, but when her symptoms didn't improve, she went to the hospital.

"The doctors pretty much told my girls that I was going to die," she remembers.

Turns out Dana had a blood clotting disorder. When she arrived at the hospital, doctors told her she had multiple blood clots present from her chest down.

"Her organs were failing," said Jessica Howard, one of Dana's daughters. "Her heart was failing, everything was failing. All we could do is pray."

Dana said she doesn't remember much of her initial time in the hospital. But what she did know was that her three grown daughters and other family members were by her side.

"The thing that got to me the most is when I could hear my girls crying," she said. "I could hear them crying at the foot of my bed saying ‘Lord, don't take our mother. Mama, please don't die.'"

Dana survived. However, because her condition was so severe, doctors had to amputate her hands and feet. Even though she was grateful to be alive, Dana had to cope with her new life.

"It's really hard, I cried a lot," she said. "I was a totally independent woman and now to know that I have to totally depend on other people to take care of me is really hard to grab sometimes."

But she said through God and her family, she remains positive.

"I thank God every morning when I wake up that I'm still here, I'm alive," Dana said. "I might not be the same as I was, but at least I get to see my grandkids and my daughters. That's such a blessing."

It's because of this upbeat attitude that Dana was chosen to receive the Integris Jim Thorpe Courage Award. She is one of three patients chosen to receive the award this year. She will receive her award on during a black tie event on August 25.

"She's very much an inspiration to me," her daughter said.

The family also has set up a fund to raise money to purchase a handicap accessible van for Dana.

Donations can be made through any BancFirst location in Oklahoma to the Dana R. Howard Trust. You also can send donations by mail to BancFirst, P.O. BOX 26788, Oklahoma City, OK, 73126. Please designate on the memo line that your donation is for the Dana R. Howard trust.