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Laura Perry '97 Keeping the Faith

Laura Perry reached a major milestone earlier this month when she drove herself to work.

A 1997 graduate of Washington and Lee, where she majored in journalism, Laura hadn’t made that trip on her own in the eight and a half years since she suffered a traumatic brain injury (TBI) in a 2003 car accident.

Laura recently wrote about her successful commute as well as her continuing recovery from TBI in Metro Spirit, an Augusta, Ga., independent weekly, where she is volunteering.

Laura’s pieces and an introductory article, “Remembering Laura Perry,” about her injury and recovery are inspiring on many levels.

Among the most poignant stories is Laura’s return to Lexington this past May for her 15th class reunion. It was, as the story explains, the second time since her accident that she had traveled back to W&L for a reunion. For her 10th, Laura’s sister, Beth, of the Class of 1999, had gone with her. This time Beth was busy, so Laura was accompanied by her mother.

It was, Laura readily confessed, embarrassing to be driven to her 15th reunion by her mother, but that wasn’t the hardest part.

“Everybody’s just in a different part of their life,” she was quoted as saying. “That’s kind of what the hard part was — everybody’s not only married, but they have kids and they’re dealing with things like that. I’m not on that same playing field, so it’s a little hard. I don’t want to be always talking about the same thing — my brain injury recovery.”

Prior to the accident, Laura had worked with CGI Group and Hull Storey Retail Group. Following the accident, she has volunteered in marketing with several Augusta organizations, including the American Red Cross. More recently, she has put her W&L journalism background to work with Metro Spirit, progressing from assisting with research projects to writing assignments and even a couple of bylines.

While the struggle continues, Laura clearly has the right attitude: “I think the toughest thing about this is just staying positive, patient and keeping focused that there is a grand plan for me. I’m determined to keep the faith.”