Lauren Murphy, a traumatic brain injury survivor turned inspirational speaker, shared her story of hard work and unwavering hope during Fontbonne University’s commencement at 4 p.m. on Monday, May 6, at Chaifetz Arena. The university conferred 435 undergraduate and graduate degrees this spring.
Murphy, a St. Louis native and 2010 graduate of Fontbonne University’s fashion merchandising program, was on a morning run in Los Angeles in 2013 when she was struck by a car. Doctors didn’t expect her to live, but after more than four months in the hospital and four brain surgeries, she pulled through. Many difficult days followed: Murphy had to re-learn how to do nearly everything, including sitting in a chair, walking and eating.
She was also diagnosed with aphasia, a communication disorder that affects speech, comprehension, reading and writing. To treat the condition, Murphy turned to Fontbonne’s Eardley Family Clinic for Speech, Language and Hearing, where she participates in intensive speech therapy. She also became an active member of Fontbonne’s aphasia therapy bootcamp, which helps individuals experiencing aphasia recover confidence and regain speech.
Murphy recovered far beyond her doctors’ expectations, and she still works hard every day to regain what she lost in the accident. She retains a love for running and has participated in nearly 30 5K races since the accident. She is also now involved with the Disabled Athletes Sports Association, which offers sports opportunities for people with permanent physical, visual and hearing disabilities.
Watch Murphy’s speech and Fontbonne’s 2019 commencement ceremony online.