Storm victim: 'I laid down in fetal position, started to pray'
Posted May 21, 2009 2:27 p.m. EDT
Updated May 21, 2009 8:26 p.m. EDT
Lumberton, N.C. — Ginger Britt has survived colon cancer, thyroid cancer and having a kidney removed, and now she has weathered another storm.
Britt was alone in her Robeson County double-wide mobile home on May 11 when she saw the sky go black. Powerful straight line winds blew her home off its foundation and blasted it to pieces.
Britt survived the storm but suffered a broken collar bone, ribs, femur and vertebrae and a punctured lung.
“I got down and I crawled into the little hall, and I laid down in a fetal position and started to pray. And the next thing I knew, I woke up in the backyard,” she said. “I kind of, like, tried to look around, and I saw all the devastation. And I heard a fire whistle, and I said, ‘I just have to lay back down.’ I couldn’t move. ‘Someone will come find me,’’ Britt recalled.
She was rescued from the debris and spent two days in the intensive-care unit at Southeast Regional Medical Center.
Britt’s mother-in-law, Virginia Britt, said she had taken her grandson to school when she heard a tornado might have touched down. She rushed home to find her room torn off and her living room in shambles, but she said she was more concerned about her daughter-in-law, who lives next door.
"I had Ginger on my mind because I knew she was home, and I said, 'Oh my god ... Ginger is in there,'" Virginia Britt recalled.
Ginger Britt said she has survived hard times for the past 17 years. When her only son Justin was born, she was diagnosed with Gardner’s Syndrome, a genetic disorder that led to colon and thyroid cancer. She has also had a kidney removed.
“I can’t even tell you how many operations I’ve had,” she said. “I couldn’t figure out why (this all happened to me.) You know, I said (God) has a plan. His plan is bigger than mine, and His is more important … He’s not finished with me yet, though.”
Ginger Britt said she has always wanted to live long enough to see her son graduate from high school, which he plans to do in a couple weeks. His baseball team at Fairmont High School made it to the playoffs, but she was not able to attend the game. She listened on her laptop.
“I wasn’t there, but I was there in spirit,” she said.
The community has been there for her family, according to her husband.
“That’s the one thing I’d like to say more than anything else … is thanks,” said Teddy Britt.“There was probably 150 to 200 people who took time out of their own life to try to salvage ours.”
Ginger Britt is out of the hospital and is undergoing a few days of rehabilitation in Florence, S.C.
North Carolina ranks first in the number of nighttime tornado fatalities in the U.S. and 15th in total tornado deaths.
On June 3, at 7 p.m., WRAL-TV takes a look at advancements in forecasting and how future fatalities may be prevented. Tune in to "Focal Point: Twist of Fate," hosted by WRAL News anchor and reporter Kelcey Carlson.