Donna Laird is a survivor.
Just weeks after finishing treatment for breast cancer, Laird dropped her daughter off at school. After returning home, she took to the woods behind her Allen Parish home. After all, it was deer season.
It was November 17, 2010, when Laird climbed into the tripod stand. Normally, she would use a box stand her husband, Lenox, had built. But that stand was a decade old and beginning to show signs of decay.
Around 9 a.m., Laird decided to climb down and walk back to her home as Lenox would be arriving home then. After securing her gun, Laird noticed a strange sensation.
“The trees were passing me,” she said. “It happened fast.”
She had fallen 10 feet. Though she never lost consciousness, Laird couldn’t move.
“I was by myself and had no phone,” Laird said. “All I could do was scream.”
Finally, her dogs heard her pleas and began barking. After about 20 minutes on the ground, her husband found her.
Laird crawled onto the 4-wheeler and told Lenox to get her home and onto the couch. When they arrived at the house and Laird couldn’t stand, she crawled into their pickup truck for a trip from their home west of Oberlin to the Oakdale Community Hospital. Following X-rays, she was transferred to Rapides Regional Medical Center and its Trauma Services department.
An MRI showed a compression fracture of her lower back.
Laird spent three days at Rapides Regional. Neurosurgeon M. Lawrence Drerup ruled out surgery and prescribed a back brace.
“It actually healed by wearing the brace and doing what he said,” she said.
This past fall, she was back in the woods, this time in a new box stand.
“I love hunting,” said Laird, who killed three deer this past season. “I’ve hunted for 19 years. It’s a passion of mine.”