PORTLAND, Ore. — A woman who was hit by a drunken driver in Portland last year celebrated a year of survival.
On Sunday, Estelle Morley helped organize a cycling event as part of Pedalpalooza for victims of vehicular violence.
"A celebration at my second chance at life," she said.
On July 3, 2021, a drunken driver hit Morley on her bike at the intersection of Southeast Linn Street and 17th Avenue She was critically injured and suffered multiple broken bones and fractures.
Over the last year, Morley was put under 13 times for various surgeries. Thanks to ongoing therapy by staff at Oregon Health and Science University, she is now finally able to walk again.
"Glad to be alive," Morley told a cheering crowd Sunday near that same intersection.
Some who showed up were the neighbors who rushed to her side after the crash.
"People held my hand and sang songs, trying to keep me conscious," Morley described.
Morley gave each person who showed up to the cycling event on a hug, including Portland police officer Peter Braun. He was the first emergency responder on scene during the crash.
"One of the worst I had seen," Braun recalled.
Morley's loved ones invited Braun to the cycling event so he and Morley could meet for the first time since that day, exactly a year ago.
"Very often, we see people at their lowest points and we don't know what happens next," Braun said. "I'm incredibly grateful to her friends and family for letting me know that this was happening."
Morley credits Braun with life-saving action that night. She could not hold back tears as they caught up with each other.
"Anybody who puts on the uniform does it to be there when it matters," Braun said.
For Morley, the event Sunday was about togetherness.
"Love one another, because that's what it's all about," she said.
She hopes her story catches the attention of the Oregon Department of Transportation and the Portland Bureau of Transportation to help improve cycling infrastructure, awareness and driver education.
"We have a responsibility to be stewards and be safe," Morley said of both cyclists and drivers.
As the group of cyclists reached Milwaukie Bay Park Sunday afternoon, they celebrated Morley's recovery.
"This is a reflection of my community," she said. "Recognizing we have an impact on each other."
"In the world where there's a lot to be sad and scared about, it is incredibly powerful to have something to be hopeful about," Braun added.