Skip To Main Content

Valerie & Tiffany Heesch

Prior to July 12, 2013, Valerie and her daughter Tiffany enjoyed doing things together and were very active in softball and riding together on Valerie’s motorcycle. On that day, Valerie and Tiffany were riding home on Valerie’s motorcycle when a 2-time drunk driver made a left turn right into them. Tiffany was thrown 80 feet before landing in the ditch with a broken ankle and her leg broken in 3 places. Tiffany recalls lying in the ditch, seeing her Mom lying on the highway screaming and crying in pain. Valerie’s left leg was broken into 81 pieces and her left arm was broken so severely that the broken bones destroyed the tendons going to her left hand.

The first doctor wanted to amputate Valerie’s leg, but this was not going to be an option for Valerie. They found an orthopedic surgeon who would try and rebuild her leg and repair her arm. Over a month in the hospital, and several surgeries later—10 on her leg and 5 on her arm— using countless plates and screws, cadaver bones and several skin grafts, Valerie’s recovery continues.

Valerie has to wear a full leg brace and uses a cane to walk. She has very limited use of her left hand. Recently, she found out that she most likely will have to have her mechanical knee replaced. Life today for Valerie and Tiffany is filled with pain. Valerie takes 1000 milligrams of pain reliever 3 times a day just to ease the pain. Tiffany has had a recent surgery to put a longer rod in her leg which causes continual pain. Tiffany has to take 3-4 hot showers a night to relieve the pain and some nights she sleeps on the floor beside the bathtub, just so she doesn’t have to try and walk to the bathroom in pain. Valerie has not taken a bath since the accident.

Safe Step heard about their story through one of its employees, who knows Valerie and Tiffany personally. He asked the company to help them and they did, making the family the first South Dakota recipients of the national award-winning program of giving, Safe Step Cares.

“We were moved by Valerie and Tiffany’s story and Safe Step is in the business of changing the lives of our neighbors and friends, every day,” said Craig Dauffenbach, CEO and Owner of Safe Step Walk-In Tub Co. of Minnesota. “We felt they could both benefit from our tub as they continue to rehabilitate and recover. We are very pleased to provide them a tub at no cost to show them that Safe Step cares.”