DENVER (CBS4) – Two years ago this month, a Denver woman was badly burned in a fiery crash. Both of her legs and one arm had to be amputated. She spent more than a year in the UCHealth Burn Center.
Now, 38-year-old Jamie Ketchum is getting ready to throw out the first pitch at a Colorado Rockies game.
“So, I just hold it between what’s left of my left arm and then I’m able to throw with my right hand,” Jamie explained.
The former high school softball pitcher showed CBS4 Health Specialist Kathy Walsh how she’ll do it with one arm, the only limb doctors could save after Jamie was caught in a fiery crash.
“The worst day of my life ever that you could ever imagine,” said Jamie.
It was May 25, 2017. A dump truck blew a tire on Interstate 25 and collided with the Ketchum’s SUV. Jamie’s father, James Schuppe, was killed. Her mother, Patti Schuppe, was badly burned. Her husband, Troy, was hurt. Jamie had third- and fourth-degree burns over 95% of her body.
“Excruciating,” she said describing her pain, “and I wouldn’t wish it upon anyone else.”
It was the worst case ever in the UCHealth Burn Center. Jamie was there for 425 days. So was Troy, as a visitor.
“Yep, every day,” she said.
“I needed to be there for my girl,” explained Troy.
“Is that what got you through?” asked Walsh.
“Yes, without a doubt, because I would look at him and know that I didn’t want to be done with us,” said an emotional Jamie.
Walsh was at Jamie’s graduation party when she left the hospital in July of 2018.
“I think I’ve come leaps and bounds since the last time I saw you,” said Jamie.
With therapy, she can now feed herself and brush her teeth. Jamie got to ski in November and she’s walked on a pair of prosthetic legs.
“I was pretty clumsy, so this guy is going to have to make sure that I stay on my two feet,” she laughed.
“It’s just incredible what you’ve been able to do,” said Troy with admiration.
The Ketchums are a team. Troy is Jamie’s caregiver and cheerleader.
“I made her bracelets here recently and I put on them ‘survivor, hero and blessed’ and she is all of those things,” he said.
And more, Jamie is an inspiration.
“Hopefully, if someone else is going through something terrible and having their worst day, you know, I can help make them see it will get better,” she said.
Jamie and Troy love the Colorado Rockies. One of their first dates was at a game. Her pitch at Coors Field won’t go far, but Jamie is all about progress and being near the pros.
“I’ll feel like one of them, just for a minute at least,” said a smiling Jamie.
She’s ready for her moment on the mound, another milestone for Team Ketchum.