Last mission to repair the Hubble telescope Hubble space telescope discoveries have enriched our understanding of the cosmos. In this special report, you will see facts about the Hubble space telescope, discoveries it has made and what the last mission's goals are.
For their own good
Fifty years ago, they were screwed-up kids sent to the Florida School for Boys to be straightened out. But now they are screwed-up men, scarred by the whippings they endured. Read the story and see a video and portrait gallery.
Fill out this form to email this article to a friend
'If anybody could do it, she could'
Karly Schweitzer has done what her doctors say she couldn't do.
By RITA FARLOW, Times Staff Writer
Published December 13, 2007
Karly Schweitzer, 29, of St. Petersburg, suffered severe brain injuries in 1997.
[Dirk Shadd | Times]
[Scott Keeler | Times (2000)]
Karly Schweitzer poses with her parents, Betsy and Marty, in 2000 when she graduated from Emory University.
Karly Schweitzer has never been one to take no for an answer.
"She just had a mind of her own. If she didn't want to do something, by golly, she didn't do it. She was strong to the verge of stubbornness," said her dad, Largo resident Marty Schweitzer.
So it comes as little surprise to her parents that Karly, 29, will graduate from Stetson University College of Law on Saturday with not one, but two degrees.
Ten years ago, doctors told Karly she'd have a hard time making it through community college. Law school? Out of the question, they said.
"Every single doctor told me ...it's impossible," Karly said.
As a sophomore at Emory University in Atlanta, Karly suffered severe brain injuries in a car accident that happened on the way to a concert with friends.
When she emerged from a coma nine days after the Nov. 23, 1997, accident, Marty Schweitzer said, "She couldn't walk, she couldn't talk, she couldn't do anything."
But Karly wasn't going to let that stop her. Still in a wheelchair, Karly told her mom, Betsy, she wanted to go back to Emory.
Betsy Schweitzer pointed out to her daughter that she lived on the third floor of a building with no elevators. How would she get upstairs?
"You put me at the bottom of those stairs and you watch," Karly told her. Her parents relented.
"She's just so darned positive and that's really why, when all of these doctors told us she shouldn't go, why my wife and I decided she could go," Marty Schweitzer said. "If anybody could do it, she could do it."
After months of rehabilitation, Karly returned to Emory the following fall. She worked hard to graduate with the rest of her class.
"If I say I'm going to do something, I can totally do it," said Karly, who lives in St. Petersburg.
Optimism and determination have always been Karly's strengths, said longtime friend Cristy Lafferty, 29.
"All of those qualities about her were just absolutely magnified after the accident," she said.
Lafferty choked up when she recalled the weeks after the accident, the months of grueling therapy, the slow restoration of her childhood friend. "She makes everybody who hasn't had a challenge like that sit up and take notice of what we can accomplish," said Lafferty, of Orlando.
Karly said she draws inspiration from her parents. "They are my idols. My brother Eric, too. I am so in awe of them. I want to be just like them," she said.
Today, Karly carries few visible signs of the accident. When she's tired, her speech becomes a little slurred. Her vision is slightly affected and her memory isn't what it used to be.
The A grades that used to come so easily now require serious studying, Karly said. On Saturday, she'll fulfill a childhood dream, when she receives her juris doctor degree and a master's degree in business administration.
Don't ever let anyone tell you that you can't do something, Karly said. "You can do absolutely anything you tell yourself you can do," she said. "It's totally self-envisioned."