World Trade Center Attack Survivor Lauren Manning: A Long Road Back to Health

Bond trader and 9/11 burn victim Lauren Manning: "I'm moving forward."

By Gail Cameron Wescott from Reader's Digest | September 2006

She still works with physical and occupational therapists, who help stretch her delicate hands, devastatingly seared on Tower One’s hot metal lobby doors. Susan Scanga, one of her therapists, says, “Lauren was so badly burned that there’s not much there except scar tissue and bone. To me, it’s a miracle she even has hands at all. Still, she looks you in the eye and says, ‘I don’t have bad days.’ ”

Lauren sees parallels between her son’s first five years of life and her own five-year journey back. “Tyler’s gone from a carriage to crawling to walking to a scooter to learning to ride a two-wheeler,” she says.

Simultaneously, she’s had to learn how to sit, stand, walk, drink from a cup, and use a knife and fork.

Recently, Tyler has made his own discovery of what his mom went through that terrible day. In September 2005 he watched his parents appear on the
Today show. Shortly after some 9/11 footage rolled, Tyler asked his mother why she ever went into the building that day. “I wish you hadn’t been hurt, Mommy,” he said.

Lauren and Greg work hard to give their young son the right messages. “We tell him that some bad guys did a bad thing, and that’s how Mommy was injured,” says Greg. They offer Tyler reassurances that it’s not going to happen to him, and that his parents will protect him no matter what.

Are they planning to have any more children? Lauren’s quiet reply: “We would love to.”

In the meantime, they’re enjoying what they have. It’s the unplanned pleasures they truly value. Tyler has gotten into playacting, and he’ll suddenly suggest a script. “You be the princess,” he’ll say to Lauren, “and I’ll be the knight. Caleigh [their dog] can be the dragon.” With that, they’re off.

Lauren smiles as she tells the story. “Life doesn’t get any better,” she says.

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