HIGHLANDS RANCH, Colo. -- A Highlands ranch woman says a near-death experience changed her life forever.
Tina Benner was struck by a car while jogging four years ago and almost died. Now, she's giving back— and offering hope to other trauma survivors.
After surviving that horrible accident, Benner is now volunteering at St. Anthony Hospital, and attending a monthly workshop there that is offering hope to people in short supply.
For her, everyday is a gift.
"The range of emotion is definitely huge because it altered my life completely," Benner said.
The Highlands Ranch woman says even the simple act of cutting watermelon with her daughters fills her with awe and gratitude.
"You really can't put words to describe when you almost lose your life... how grateful you are to still have it," she said.
In 2015, Benner, training for a marathon, was jogging near her home when a driver under the influence of drugs changed her life forever.
"A person had jumped the curb and hit me, and left, so it was a hit-and-run. I laid there for an hour," she told Denver7 Monday.
She woke up the next day at St. Anthony Hospital, overwhelmed, and unable to move.
"I had a head injury. I hit the passenger side mirror with my head. I had strokes from blood loss, a torn aorta, (my) pelvis was broken in five spots," she said, "that was a very scary time."
Four weeks in the hospital and months of therapy later, Benner didn't know if she'd ever walk again.
Supported by friends, family, and faith, Benner willed herself to survive.
"Okay, you had your pitty party - time to be thankful again and do something that's going to make you feel better," she recounted.
Benner learned to walk and started volunteering at St. Anthony - helping boost the spirits of other trauma victims.
Every month she attends St. Anthony's "Life after Trauma" support group.
The goal of the workshop is simple -- to offer hope to people whose lives have been shattered.
"It's definitely instrumental in helping people heal," Benner said, saying the class has taught her a valuable lesson in taking control of her life.
Now four years later, she's running three miles a day and treasuring her time with her family.
In a world filled with darkness, Benner says all she sees is light.
"Just gratitude for the day and my life here. It just is amazing. I definitely have a different outlook on life," Benner said.