Rower continues to recover

Feb 12, 2020

MARION — Injured Marion rower Hannah Strom continues to make progress on healing at Massachusetts General Hospital, supported by her family, her town and the community at Tabor Academy, where she attended school.

Strom now rows for Holy Cross and was severely injured on Jan. 15 in Vero Beach Florida when a team van she was in collided head on with a pickup truck, killing her teammate Grace Rett and injuring others.

Her mother, Gail Strom owner of Kool Kone with her husband Tom, posted an update to facebook on Feb. 5, which was shared with her permission, saying that her daughter “remains in ICU but does not medically need to anymore.”

Gail said her care team delayed moving Hannah to rehabilitation until “she is fully ready for that,” but said that the plan was to move her from the Intensive Care Unit on Feb. 6.

Sippican Week could not confirm if Hannah was moved as planned, but her mother described her as “opening her eyes more each day.” 

Hannah made quite an impact on the staff in her original unit, who said, “she will never be forgotten.”

In addition to support from the hospital staff, Hannah has also gotten a bit of canine support from her dog.

“They also allowed Shannon, our pup, to visit Hannah, which was so cute,” Gail wrote. “Shannon gained many, many friends in the ICU unit [sic], and has even been allowed to have her picture on the pet wall.”

The mother said the Tabor community has rallied around her daughter.

“We have received videos and messages from her Tabor crew coaches, and we watch one of her dearest friends Jules sing her music and Hannah reacts very positive [sic] listening to these,” Gail wrote. 

“Jules,” would be Julia Peterson, who felt too emotional to speak but in a written statement described Hannah as her best friend from Tabor.

“I met Hannah in the first few weeks of freshman year at Tabor. We initially bonded over our newly developed passion for rowing, as we, along with our other best friends, tried it out through an instructional program offered at Tabor,” Peterson wrote.

Though not all of the students who first took the program stuck with rowing, those that did go on to the team formed an “unbreakable team bond,” Peterson said. 

Her teammate described Hannah as a standout in her sport.

“Hannah is one of the strongest rowers I have ever met, and yet the most humble athlete I’ve encountered. As her teammate, it was evident how much she cared about the team as a whole,” Peterson wrote.

The athlete’s humility and selflessness also stood out.

“She never individualized the sport even when her personal achievements deserved acknowledgement,” her teammate and friend wrote, “I know that I, along with the entirety of the team, always looked up to her for her selflessness.”

Peterson described the Holy Cross as always loving and listening to her family, friends and team. But it wasn’t just her friends and family that benefitted.

“The one thing that sticks out is her contagious smile. On the Tabor campus she was always spreading her positivity,” Peterson wrote.

According to Peterson, Hannah’s overall impact is one that’s hard to overstate.

“I am incredibly thankful to have become such close friends to Hannah during my time at Tabor,” Peterson wrote, “Words are unable to adequately describe what she means to me and to the Tabor community as a whole.”

Even outside the Tabor community, the Tri-Town has still organized multiple efforts to help Strom and her family.

A group of Sippican School students came up with the idea to sell cookies as a fundraiser for Hannah Strom on Feb. 9 in the Olde Knoll neighborhood.

Neighbors responded well to the fundraiser, and they raised $110 in a 45-minute afternoon sale.

The First Congregational Church of Marion also held a  prayers for Hannah event Feb. 5.

Three local businesses have also banded together to offer bracelets for the cause, with all of the proceeds going back to the Strom family.

Olive and I, a Mattapoisett jewelry company, making simple purple bracelets with small silver hearts on them, which will be sold at Isabelle’s and Belle’s Boutique.

Teah Keogh of Olive and I originally started with 200 bracelets and had the Stroms ask to buy 60 of them for the care team. So they ordered 100 more.

“People are so willing to donate and help, and it’s nice to have something and wear it,” Keogh said, calling the bracelets “something really simple and powerful.”

Though the community support means everything to Gail, and keeps her strong she us also anxiously awaiting any improvements on Hannah’s part.

“Can’t wait for the update when I can tell you that Hannah is at her rehab,” Gail wrote.