Plane crash survivor spreads inspiration, hope in new book

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by Catherine Holland

GMAZ interview by Scott Pasmore

Posted on June 14, 2012 at 12:59 PM

Updated Tuesday, Jun 19 at 9:21 AM

PHOENIX -- On Aug. 16, 2008, Mesa mom of four Stephanie Nielson and her husband survived a horrific plane crash near St. Johns -- barely.

Burned over 80 percent of her body, Nielson spent nearly three months in a medically induced coma at the Arizona Burn Center at Maricopa Medical Center. Her family, including her children, couldn't recognize her -- just her red toenails.

To say it was a long road to recovery, both physically and emotionally, simply isn't enough.

Nielson, who has since had a fifth child, shares her journey in "Heaven is Here: An Incredible Story of Hope, Triumph and Everyday Joy."

She said she said she wrote the book for her children.

In Los Angeles for the book's launch, Nielson checked in with 3TV's Scott Pasmore via satellite Thursday morning.

"One of the hardest part of writing this book was reliving all of those terrible feelings that I had," she said. "Also it was very therapeutic. I think I was able to get a lot of feelings out that needed to come out."

Nielsen said writing also helped her cherish her life all the more and admitted that there were times -- extremely painful times -- that she wanted to die.

"I was reminded when I reconnected with my children just how important it was to keep fighting, to keep going," she said. "Certainly there are day that are hard … but I feel like for the most part, I am just a very blessed person …."

Nielsen said her main message is that people should hold tightly to "hope that there's always a brighter day coming."

"Heaven is Here" is available both in bookstores and online.

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