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young girl downhill skiing
Jana Hoglund

"When we saw her fall, from our vantage point, it was terrible," says Erin Hackett, about her daughter Lizzie Hackett, a freshman on the Northview High School varsity ski team, who competed against the GRCHS team this winter. "It looked to me like she launched herself off a cliff into the woods."

On February 12, Lizzie competed in a Giant Slalom Run during the Caberfae Regional meet. On her first run, Lizzie lost control and changed direction, veering off into the woods and away from spectators. "I honestly thought we had lost her," says Erin, who only viewed the incident from the ground. "It was like in a dream when you feel your feet won't move," adds Erin, who desperately ran up the hill to check on her daughter. 

Young girl downhill skiing

Erin found Lizzie conscious and already talking. Fortunately, "She did have a helmet on with a guard…and she had goggles," says Erin, who adds that with no missing or broken teeth, the main abrasion was a 2 cm cut to the inside and outside of her lip.

Rushed to a Traverse City hospital, Lizzie underwent plastic surgery, in which 32 stitches were adhered to the inside and outside of her mouth.

The next week, when Lizzie returned to school, she received a card from the Christian High ski team, who had witnessed the event. "She was very touched by that," says Erin, who later learned that in the aftermath of Lizzie’s fall, the team had circled together and begun praying for her health and safety. "We are a family with strong faith…we truly believe in the power of prayer," she adds.

Having already donned her skis for a few runs and set to travel to Colorado for spring break, Lizzie remains passionate about skiing. Erin adds, "We wholeheartedly believe that it is a miracle that Lizzie walked away from this accident and know that God took care of her that day.”

Grateful that her daughter walked away from the accident in full health, Erin believes in the power of prayer by the GRCHS skiing team contributed to her recovery. She was so impressed by the team's actions that she took the time to share this story with GRCHS Athletic Director Jason Heerema. Erin closed her email by saying, “In addition to the prayers said by the team, they also sent a card to Northview High School that they all signed wishing Lizzie a speedy recovery. This was so thoughtful and meant a lot to her…They showed amazing empathy and class. You should be very proud of them!"