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StoryCorps In Kansas City — How A Young Couple Stuck Together After A Terrible Accident

Matt and Abby Anderson talked about how they kept their fledgling relationship together when Abby got into a serious car accident.

StoryCorps' MobileBooth came to Kansas City to collect the stories and memories of residents. This is one in a series of stories KCUR has chosen to highlight.

Matt and Abby Anderson had only been dating a few months when the accident happened. Abby was just 18 when she lost control of her car on the way to school and slammed into a semi.

"When you woke up and gained consciousness, what was your first concern?" Matt asked her.

"It's so vain, but I was worried about my appearance," Abby admits. "I don't even know if it was about being beautiful, but your face is who you are. And when it's different, it completely changes your entire life."

The force of the hit launched Abby's face into the steering wheel of her car. She had her jaw wired shut for months afterwards, and nurses at the hospital had purposefully kept her away from mirrors.

When Abby was allowed back home, Matt would visit every afternoon between school and work. Since they had only been together a short time, Abby admits that she felt guilty about it.

"I was worried that you were coming over because you felt like you had to," Abby said. "It was almost your only free moment during the week, and you came and sat with a girl who couldn't really talk, was on a lot of medications and would sometimes fall asleep on you."

She recalls sitting with Matt watching the TV when she wrote a message on a little white board she used to communicate: "You don't have to stay."

Matt's face turned angry as he grabbed the white board and erased the words on it.

"That was some of the best hour of my day," Matt said. "I was enamored with your personality, you weren't like any of the other girls I had known. It ended up being the best decision of my life [staying with you]."

Now, more than 10 years later, the two are married.

"I'm glad that, all in all, we were able to perservere and stay together this long," Abby said. "I wouldn't want to be with anybody else."

"Me too," Matt replied.

Matthew Long-Middleton is a community producer for KCUR 89.3. Follow him on Twitter @MLMIndustries.

Cody Newill is an audience development specialist for KCUR 89.3. Follow him on Twitter @CodyNewill.

Matthew Long-Middleton has been a talk-show producer, community producer, Media Training Manager and now the Community Engagement Manager at KCUR. You can reach him at Matthew@kcur.org, or on Twitter @MLMIndustries.
Cody Newill is part of KCUR's audience development team. Follow him on Twitter @CodyNewill or email him at cody@kcur.org.
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