In 1962, while serving in the Western States Mission, Becky Reeve (BS ‘74) had a freak car accident that left her paralyzed from the neck down. She went from having just finished her sophomore year at BYU to living a reality completely alien to her. She said, “for the next 54 years I would be required to walk by faith, relying every minute of every hour of every day on the goodness and mercy of God.” The paralysis affected her internal organs, breathing, and blood pressure, and damaged nerves produced pain in her hips and lower back.
Reeve relied on people the Lord “raised up” to help her. “Without missing even one day someone has been there to help me make it through the night, provide clean clothes and bedding, help me bathe, dress me, lift me out of bed, place me back in bed, care for my personal needs, fix my meals, clean the house, take me places, and help me in every possible way.”
Her total dependence, and the brutal emotional toll of being incapacitated, left her with “hundreds, even thousands, of long lonely hours to just think and ponder . . . I soon learned that to survive I must positively control my mind or else negative thoughts would destroy me.”
Reeve determined to stay positive and focused, and after a special stake fast and blessing from her patriarch that promised she would stand on her feet again, she began to see incremental progress as she combined her faith and mental toughness. “I had traditional therapy for 23 years until my health began to fail,” she says. “The Lord opened a new door for me. I joined the Sit Tall–Stand Tall Program working with founder and strength trainer Leighton Weber in Provo. I experienced a great improvement in my health and strength. After working many years in the program, I could stand in leg braces and take steps with limited help.”
This spiritual and physical awakening made her more ambitious, and in time she graduated from BYU in Human Development and Family Relations with an elementary school teaching certificate, even though finishing the last two years of school took her eight years. She student-taught in first grade, and laughs as she recalls how “those kids absolutely loved my wheelchair.”
Her BYU degree is one of her most important life accomplishments. She says, “I love BYU so much; I couldn’t even cross campus without tears coming to my eyes.” She adds, “BYU even sent teachers to my house to teach me and help me.”
Despite towering struggles, Reeve has served in major Church callings, been a motivational speaker, authored and illustrated many books, and inspired and encouraged many others through her devotion to her family and the Lord. She says, “I testify that the Spirit knows no handicap and you can trust the Lord.”