HOUSTON (KTRK) --It was a celebration of life Tuesday night for Houstonians who have cheated death. They were reunited with the medical professionals and first responders who saved their lives.
About a dozen survivors of traumatic injuries attended the 12th annual event organized by Harris Health System. They ended up in emergency rooms at Ben Taub Hospital or Lyndon B. Johnson Hospital. Many had prognoses far from good.
Terrell Wayne Rogers was in a coma for three months after a car accident in March 2014, and, according to his wife, Lashonda Rogers, doctors didn't expect him to ever emerge from a vegetative state.
"It's going well," Rogers said of his recovery from a severe brain injury. "Not as fast as I'd like but I'm alive. I'm alive."
Rogers fell asleep as he was driving home and hit a light pole. He wasn't wearing a seat belt. Now he's walking and talking with the help of many people in the room Tuesday night.
Other survivors were recovering from lost limbs and gunshot wounds. One man had nearly been decapitated during a motorcycle accident. Kathy Pusser was the trail rider who was thrown from her horse on the Los Vaqueros Trail Ride in February.
"You've got to fight. You've got to say, 'I'm here for a reason and I'm going to make it,'" said Pusser. She suffered a shattered jaw, collapsed lung, bruises and gashes and has yet to undergo more surgery.
The men and women who cheated death and their families felt compelled to attend the event.
"I just wanted to say thank you, thank you," said Lashonda Rogers.
The medical professionals appreciate the gratitude but don't expect it.
"The thank you is seeing them again and doing well. That's enough for us," said Dr. Rob Todd, Chief of Trauma at Ben Taub Hospital.
Meantime, Rogers continues to work on his recovery and spread the word about his support foundation: www.twaynefoundation.org
He also hopes to drive again one day.