25 years ago, on January 25th, 1992 a bus driving the Notre Dame women’s swim team hit black ice on the Indiana Toll Road. The team was on their way home from a duel meet with Northwestern when the bus slid off the road and took the lives of two of their teammates, Meghan Beeler and Colleen Hipp.
Haley Scott DeMaria is honouring her late teammates lives by walking the Notre Dame Trail. The Notre Dame Trail is a 13 day pilgrimage meant to celebrate Notre Dame’s 175th anniversary. Walking is emotional for DeMaria both because there was a time when she thought she would never have feeling in her legs again and because Hipp and Beeler are no longer able to.
DeMaria was a freshman in 1992 at the time of the accident. DeMaria was rushed to the hospital when she realized that she had no feeling in her legs. The 18 year old was told she would never walk again and would spend the rest of her life in a wheelchair. Pushing through intensive physical therapy she regained the ability to walk. The determined swimmer was back competing for Notre Dame the following year. Although DeMaria did not end up in a wheelchair she still carries that January night with her.
The Notre Dame Trail is approximately 319 miles. DeMaria is currently on day 12 of the 13 day Pilgrimage. In the evenings there is time for rest and a community dinner. The pilgrims walk from 7am until about 11am-2pm. You can follow Haley Scott DeMaria’s blog HERE.
DeMaria and her teammates have learned to live with the tragedy of losing two of their teammates. The team thinks about Beeler and Hipp daily. “That was one of the lessons that I had to learn. You never get over it, it never goes away, it becomes part of who you are,” said DeMaria to Timothy Deenihan at the Pilgrim Profile, “and part of the journey is learning to live with that and learning to accept it and trying to make some good of it.”