NewsMarshall Fire


Woman overcomes paralysis, rebuilding challenges two years after Marshall Fire

Lori Canova, was paralyzed from the waist down right before the Marshall Fire destroyed her home
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Lori Canova
Posted at 5:07 PM, Dec 30, 2023
and last updated 2023-12-30 19:17:34-05

SUPERIOR, Colo. — It's now been two years since the Marshall Fire destroyed more than a thousand homes and businesses in Boulder County, and one victim has had to overcome more challenges than just losing her home.

Two weeks before the fire, Lori Canova said she was diagnosed with a tumor in her spine that burst, causing her to be paralyzed from the waist down. She was in the hospital when she learned the Marshall Fire had destroyed her house on Dec. 30, 2021.

"I started screaming and I was all by myself and the nurses come running in, thinking that something was wrong with my back, and I just said, 'My house! My house! It's gone. It's all gone!'" Canova recalled. "I can't walk and now my house? I was just shocked."

Canova said through all the hardships she's endured, there was a silver lining—her daughter found out she was pregnant around the same time this was all happening.

"So I had that to look forward to," she said. "My goal was to be able to walk at the same time she (granddaughter) was walking."

Canova spent several months in physical therapy and is now back to walking on her own.

"I went from a wheelchair to a walker to one of those roller riders that you can sit on, to arm crutches, to a cane," she said.

Woman overcomes paralysis, rebuilding challenges two years after Marshall Fire

Her husband, Brent Canova, said writing a book about his and his wife's experience helped him get through the difficult times.

"She's come back better than we ever thought," he said. "We fully anticipated she would be coming home in a wheelchair for the rest of her life."

His book, "A Journey Through Paralysis and Fire," shares their journey over the past couple of years.

Canova and her husband are now back in their newly rebuilt home in Superior, feeling grateful to finally be where they are.

"[We] feel so happy to be where we need to be now in our lives and move on to the next chapter," she said.

The Marshall Fire damaged or destroyed more than 1,000 homes and businesses in Superior, Louisville and Boulder County amid hurricane-force winds and extreme drought conditions.

It began as two separate fires, the first of which was likely sparked by a resident's buried fire from about a week prior and the second which likely began as a result of a disconnected Xcel Energy power line, the Boulder County sheriff announced in June.

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