Plantation author talks of ‘freak accident’ and moving on – Featured in Sun Sentinel

At one time, Heidi Siefkas thought she had just been in the wrong place at the wrong time that day in September 2009.

The Plantation resident was visiting her then-husband in Hudson River Valley, N.Y., where he was living to attend culinary school. As she walked along his apartment building’s tree-lined driveway to bring trash to the dumpster, an almost 1,000-pound tree limb fell from about 40-feet in the air and struck her unconscious, causing a massive concussion, bleeding in her brain and a broken neck.

It was not a windy day nor a rainy one. Upon inspection, the police and insurance companies determined that the tree was completely healthy. The incident was deemed a “freak accident.”

Though life-threatening and traumatic, this “freak accident” dramatically changed the course of Siefkas’ life toward greater fulfillment, and for that reason, she has come to believe that she had been in exactly the right place at the right time.

Siefkas had undergone neurosurgery and nine months of physical recovery, during which she wore a full neck, chest and back brace.

By the end of 2009, she was forced to resign from her job as a marketing and public relations executive, and in May 2010, she divorced her husband due to his infidelity.

While hiking a trail in Patagonia, Chile, in January 2011, Siefkas shared her story of survival and life change with fellow hikers, who told her it sounded like it would make for a really good book.

Siefkas soon began expanding upon journal entries she had made during her recovery, and just shy of four years later, she released the inspirational memoir “When All Balls Drop: The Upside of Losing Everything” early last month.

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