Belt was—and miraculously still is—co-founder and president of the Moonlight Fund, a unique non-profit that supports and nurtures burn survivors and their families. Before her accident, she was an accomplished rider, a big game hunter, a rancher who tended her land with intelligence and a huge sense of responsibility. Her open heart nurtured and sustained her beloved husband, her three grown children, the sister whom she had raised, and the more than 12,000 burn survivors the Moonlight Fund had assisted over its 20 years history.
Now, in the space of just a few minutes, all of those abilities would be lost and Celia, a survivor of both a life-threatening burn and childhood abuse, would face the greatest challenge of her life, traumatic brain injury (TBI).
Would she ever get over the rages, the inability to remember even the most basic facts, the loss of the ability to read or write, the lack of balance and constant falls? Would she ever write another grant to support the foundation that was her life’s work? Would she even be able to hold her grandchildren when they were born?
This is Celia’s story. It details her grueling fight through a labyrinth of medical services and providers, her painful discoveries of what worked, and what didn’t, her excruciating path to accepting her losses and making the most of what abilities and skills she could retain or relearn.
It is her honest, pull no punches account of what it takes to come back from a life-changing injury, of how hard it is to accept what is forever lost, and how necessary it is to believe in yourself and to find the appropriate medical help. It is the story of a silent warrior who is recovering and is eager to share what she has learned with other survivors of trauma and their families.
A must-read for those who have sustained TBIs and are struggling to find their way and for the friends and family who want to help them.