‘Cheers to you, Tatum Lindsey Love’

By on January 26, 2022

One year later, a message of triumph and thankfulness

Tatum Love (Photo credit: Cory Godwin Photography)

On Jan. 26, 2021, a 16-year-old First Flight High Junior, Tatum Love, was very seriously injured in a motor vehicle accident in Kill Devil Hills. What followed was an incredibly courageous and tenacious battle, that included multiple surgeries, to recover from the impact of significant brain injury. That battle was punctuated by Tatum’s return home from to the Outer Banks in May 2021.

During this time, the Outer Banks Community rallied to Tatum’s and her family’s side in innumerable ways, including raising nearly $100,000 through a gofundme campaign in just the first week after the accident. Many people were also able to follow reports of Tatum’s recovery with updates posted on the CaringBridge Site. Tatum | CaringBridge

Today, on Jan. 26, 2022, another update on CaringBridge was posted to mark the one-year anniversary of the accident. It tells a tale of hope, of gain, of indomitable spirit and of deep gratitude. Here it is in its entirety.


 We’ve struggled with anything approaching a final ‘update’ for months now. Concerned that it may require unnecessary attention on the past or involve an exercise in how far we’ve come as of some specific landmark along the way. Come off as a kind of progress report related to Tatum’s current and continued journey. Expose some aspect of her private life and struggles. Anything that may conflict with her/our desire to be…as Tatum puts it…’just a normal girl’. When truth be told there is nothing normal about her. She is in fact an extraordinary young woman.

Make no mistake, Tatum still has many rivers to cross and daily/lifelong challenges to confront but she has come so far and put in so much time, effort and work that it would be remiss to not acknowledge some of it before getting into what we really want to accomplish here. Thanking everyone who has done so much for Tatum and our family during these difficult times. Make some attempt at letting all those people know how truly grateful, appreciative and life affirming their empathy and kindness has been throughout this past year.

When Lorrie and I were preparing for the transition from the incredible Shepherd Center to their even more impressive Pathways out-patience program we had a sort of debriefing/exit review with a less than optimistic Neuropsychologist who asked us about our ‘realistic’ short-term and long-term goals. When we responded with a return to school, full physical recovery, continue to work on her language deficiencies related to her Aphasia, eventual driving, complete independence, college, etc. We were told in no uncertain terms that we really needed to wrap our heads around some new reality. That we were setting ourselves up for failure and disappointment…bordering on delusional. To which my beautiful and beyond optimistic wife…especially under the circumstances…replied, “You don’t know Tatum and you don’t understand where we live.”

Less than 10 months after that conversation and Tatum has returned to school last fall for her senior year and is on schedule to graduate on time with her class. She has been inducted into the National Honor Society, serves on her SGA board, a contributing staff writer on the school newspaper, is an active and competitive member on the swim team, preparing for a supporting role on the women’s lacrosse team, continues to improve almost daily in all facets and phases related to her Aphasia, is driving…with supervision…and currently investigating numerous post graduate education options in her near future.

It would be an understatement to say none of this would have been or continue to be possible without the help and immeasurable support of our incredible Outer Banks community. So many people have reached out, offered to help, showed us genuine love and been there for us it is quite simply impossible to thank you all individually. The network of friends, neighbors, classmates, teammates, professionals, administrators, teachers, doctors, therapists, coaches and others who have been there for us is nothing short of astonishing. It has been a revelation. The example of how we should all aspire to live our lives. The reason that during our darkest hour we have experienced the brightest of light. Why the most heartbreaking year of our lives has been filled with the most incredible love we have ever experienced. We are blessed to be a part of this community and cannot imagine going through this without you. We will never be able to thank you all enough for all you did…and continue to do…for our family.

As we look back on the most challenging time of our lives, I’d like to share a few absolute truths we discovered were critical to weathering the storm no matter how rough the seas. Embrace the positive energy. It is amazing what is possible when you believe it is in fact possible. Nothing good comes from negative energy…ever. You can never have enough gratitude in your life. Being truly thankful is a gift. And finally, being happy is a choice. Keep your sense of humor and always, always, always FIND THE JOY!!

So with that…let us all raise our glasses…cheers to you Tatum Lindsey Love!!

“You never know how strong you are, until being strong is the only choice you have.” – Bob Marley





County Dare, North Carolina
Dare County Tourism Board

NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that the Visitors Bureau will hold a public meeting to review the plans for an Outer Banks Event Center. The meeting will take place on Monday, June 6, 2022 from 9:30 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. at the Keeper’s Galley building at Haven on the Banks, 115 Dove Street, Nags Head North Carolina 27959.

Still in the conceptual phase, the Event Center is intended to provide suitable and flexible space for year-round events, concerts, sports, meetings, smaller tradeshows, galas and any number of other uses. Learn more about the benefits for visitors and residents and how the Event Center is planned to complement the new Soundside boardwalk that is being designed.

Staff will be on hand to answer any questions. For additional information, please visit our Event Center FAQ page.



  • WindyBill

    Wow! Looks like the OBX is home to another Future Changing Winner!

    Wednesday, Jan 26 @ 5:57 pm
  • C A

    This is wonderful news. I’m so happy for this bright young lady, and her family. No doubt Tatum will show us all her strengths by meeting her potential, and surely exceeding it.

    Yes, these Outer Banks of North Carolina are truly special, it’s a magical place. God bless our community, and those making it, and keeping it.

    Wednesday, Jan 26 @ 7:07 pm
  • Joan mcminn

    Congratulations to u. Continue on that journey and am happy for you and your family

    Thursday, Jan 27 @ 9:02 am
  • Rright Hook

    Praise be to God as the source of all the miracles experienced in this wonderful teenager’s and family’s lives over the past year. He gave the family a spirit of hope and determination and surrounded them with a community of love, encouragement and support. Yes, Our Lord is still in the miracle business!

    Thursday, Jan 27 @ 9:05 am
  • Dan

    Keep on working because it all makes you stronger and there is so much ahead of you.

    Thursday, Jan 27 @ 2:20 pm
  • Cricket

    What a tenacious soul! Left as a teenager & returned as woman & a force to be reckoned with. The stronger the net, the softer the fall. Fight on Tatum!

    Thursday, Jan 27 @ 4:31 pm
  • Nancy

    I’m a grandmother of one of Lindsay’s friends. We saw each other at a school game. Lindsay give me the warmest hug and brilliant smile. Her eyes glowed and I loved her hair. Whatever her future, she will sparkle her way through it. You are the best.

    Saturday, Jan 29 @ 2:17 pm