The first time Jessi Fredin was in a car crash, one of her friends passed away and the other was carried by STARS.

That was Grade 9. Just three years later, a month before graduation, she had her second encounter with STARS.

“She was stopped on the highway to make a left-hand turn,” said her mom, Marni Fredin. “There was oncoming traffic, so she was at a dead stop, and somebody came behind her going highway speed and hit her.”

Jessi suffered a severe head injury and was flown to tertiary care. The summer that followed was spent mostly in darkness.

“I had a really bad concussion,” said Jessi. “I don’t remember the last two weeks of school, and I didn’t get to finish Grade 12. The school just kind of mercy-passed me. And then I had to drop out of engineering and take a year off. I wasn’t well enough to go learn any more, and it sucked. I spent the first half of my summer on the couch and in my bed with all the lights off. It wasn’t very fun.”

Her mom wasn’t sure how things would turn out.

“It could have gone either way,” she said. “She could have gone to a darker place or a better place.

“She chose to help people in a way that she was helped.”

Jessi eventually met her STARS crew and was overwhelmed by the reception.

“They treated me like an old friend. I want to be part of that.”

So she returned to school and became a primary care paramedic—with one very specific goal in mind.

“I want to be a STARS paramedic,” she said. “I know how hard it will be, but I want to work with the best of the best people who never stop training and trying to better themselves for patients.”

Her mom couldn’t be more pleased.

“I’m very proud, and I’m happy for her,” said Marni. “She wants to one day fly with STARS as a paramedic and not as a patient, and it just makes me so happy for how far she has come.”

Jessi and her family encourage everyone to support STARS.

“You never know what’s going to come across your path,” said Jessi. “Tomorrow you might need STARS, or someone you love might need STARS, so just because you don’t know what’s ahead doesn’t mean you shouldn’t support it. You could be saving your own life one day by supporting STARS.”