Wheaton junior Kylie Marble’s goal for this coming summer is to run, something that she has not been able to do for months.
On June 15 Marble was in a bike accident in Forest Grove, Orgeon, which resulted in a hospital visit and stitches that closed up a knee wound. Less than 48 hours later, she returned to the hospital with an aggressive leg infection, what turned out to be a rare flesh-eating bacteria, clostridium perfringens. The infection threatened to end Marble’s life and resulted in numerous surgeries, skin grafts, pain medications, wheelchairs and walkers as she was able to keep her left leg.
Initially, Marble had hoped to return to Wheaton College in August for her third year, but this goal, she said, proved impossible.
“It would have been not only impossible but such a burden (to return in the fall),” said Marble. “Now I can be here and function regularly … I can walk (normally) and jog although it’s a little gimpy,” she said.
According to Marble, spending the fall semester in Forest Grove provided the necessary time for recuperation, where she was able to stay with her family and work with a physical therapist who helped her recover full mobility.
“I feel like I’ve been given every resource available to thrive,” said Marble. “I had a great support group and a great physical therapist. I should be doing well.”
Marble also shared that spending the time with her family, including parents Anita and Charles Marble, “definitely solidified that we care deeply for each other.” She stated that it was harder to come back than ever before, because of the depth of relationship formed during the past months.
“It was really bittersweet to come back here,” she said. “I guess a life-or-death situation brings you closer.” She shared that she misses being with her young nephews. “I’ll just have to watch videos, look at photos and sometimes have cry sessions,” she laughed.
During her semester-long hiatus from being a student at Wheaton, Marble said she still felt very connected to the community at Wheaton, even over 2,000 miles away.
“My friends here (at Wheaton) have done a really good job of not making me feel like I was missing out,” she said. “The way Wheaton in general prayed for me meant a lot.” She indicated that the Ministry of Wheaton Cares, which writes letters to those undergoing difficult times, has been of special encouragement, as a reminder that the school continually valued her during her absence.
Returning for her spring semester, Marble looks forward to continuing her communications degree, leading an Improv workshop and living in the Shalom House. She also looks foward to her return to full mobility, even regaining her ability to race. She shared that following six months of rest, she is excited to resume schoolwork.
“Hopefully that feeling sticks,” she said jokingly.
Marble shared that at her church on Jan. 18, the sermon centered around the concept of suffering, and how having joy through suffering builds perseverance. Marble was asked to share because of her experience with physical suffering with her leg infection. She shared that although the decision to have joy came to her during her injury, she learned that it was the habits she already cultivated that gave her strength.
“(Joy in suffering) is something you establish before you go through trials. Going to the Lord and being dependent on him were things he had taught me already,” she said.
“(The experience) deepened my understanding and passion, and opened my eyes to the needs of others,” she added.
“I would love to express gratitude for how faithfully people have been praying and showing support,” said Marble. “It feels like the right season to be back.”