A sweet reunion has taken place between a Hawaii woman and her rescuers after she spent over two weeks lost in the wilderness.
You may have come across the amazing story of how 35-year-old Amanda Eller was discovered and rescued at the end of a very long 16 days away from her family and friends.
What began as a hike through Maui’s Makawao Forest Reserve on May 8 ended in a major search and ultimately an airlift rescue of Eller on May 24, much to the relief of everyone who had been praying she’d be found.
“I am so blessed for every breath that I take,” Eller said at a media conference.
Hundreds in that community were part of the efforts to search for the yoga instructor and physical therapist, “Today” reported.
“I’ve never experienced anything like this where the community is showing up with so much freakin’ heart and so much passion,” Eller said.
“And these guys were not going to give up on me, thank God!”
“It did come down to life and death and I had to choose … and I chose life,” she said. “I wasn’t going to take the easy way out.”
Each day is a new step toward both physical and emotional healing for this woman. Her friend who helped coordinate the search, Sarah Haynes, spoke with “Today” about Eller’s progress.
“Physically, she’s gone backward a little bit,” Haynes said. “She walked out of the hospital, now she’s in a wheelchair, but it’s all part of the healing process, so she’s still moving forward.”
One part of moving forward just so happens to be reuniting with those who helped rescue her. The sweet moments of gratitude and relief were captured as a testimony to how this community banded together.
“Amanda thanks Leilani Farm Sanctuary of Maui’s Laurelee Blanchard, who participated in the hiking search and also loaned her SUV to the team looking for Amanda,” a post on the “Findamanda” Facebook page reads.
All the smiles and the tears are part of the healing process, too. Here’s to a full recovery and beautiful life ahead for Amanda Eller and all who love her.
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