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Teen Had Leg Amputated After Car Accident Left Her Dangling Upside Down on a Power Line for an Hour

Three years later, Kennedy Littledike tells PEOPLE she lives with chronic pain and struggles with the guilt of hurting the friends who were in the car with her

<p>Courtesy of Kennedy Littledike</p> Kennedy Littledike in the hospital after her 2021 accident and now with her boyfriend

Courtesy of Kennedy Littledike

Kennedy Littledike in the hospital after her 2021 accident and now with her boyfriend

In 2021, Idaho teen Kennedy Littledike flipped her car on a flat Idaho road and somehow landed upside down on a 30-foot-high power line.

Even three years later, Littledike, now 19, can’t believe what happened. Or that her two friends in the car, both tossed out on the ground, not only survived but also recovered from their own severe injuries, according to the teen, who says none were wearing seatbelts.

“I actually had a pretty positive outlook on it, which was kind of weird because you would think I would be super depressed and sad about the whole situation,” she tells PEOPLE. “Obviously, it’s hard. I hurt my two best friends, and I live with the guilt for that.”

<p>Courtesy of Kennedy Littledike</p> Kennedy Littledike during her rehab

Courtesy of Kennedy Littledike

Kennedy Littledike during her rehab

That guilt, she says, is harder on her than living in chronic pain with an amputated leg and arms that don't fully function. And also why she started her popular TikTok, which she hopes will help others deal with hurdles and hurt that they face in their lives.

“I think the reason people keep following me is not even for the crazy story, but because of what I’ve accomplished through my outlook on life after everything that has happened to me,” the teen says.

Littledike was trying to heal from the heartbreak of a breakup when she and her friends went out for the evening on May 22, 2021, in her small town home Declo, which has a population of about 338.

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She doesn’t remember what caused her to swerve and lose control of the car, but she was fully conscious during the one hour it took for rescuers to get her off the wire and into the ambulance.

On TikTok, where she has over 382,000 followers, she posted the 911 call made by the neighbors. She also shared a photo of herself dangling from the wire.

<p>Courtesy of Kennedy Littledike</p> Kennedy Littledike's car after the accident

Courtesy of Kennedy Littledike

Kennedy Littledike's car after the accident

Her broken leg held her on the line, and the electric shock, she says, cauterized her leg to keep her from bleeding out.

After safely making it back down to the ground, she underwent more than 21 surgeries for a broken femur, humerus, clavicle and brachial plexus injury. She also lost the majority of her broken leg.

“The pain in the hospital was unbelievable. I don’t even know how to express it,” Littledike says. “The pain would subside, and then another pain would come. I struggle with the pain to this day, and that’s probably the most mentally wearing for me, to be in chronic pain.”

<p>Courtesy of Kennedy Littledike</p> Kennedy Littledike now challenges herself with activities like rock wall climbing

Courtesy of Kennedy Littledike

Kennedy Littledike now challenges herself with activities like rock wall climbing

She says walking on a prosthetic leg is frustrating because it is so exhausting.

“The more tired I get the harder it is to walk properly,” Littledike says. “It doesn’t hurt, it just takes so much energy. If you’ve never walked in one, you really don’t understand.”

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Still, she continues doing more physically-intensive things like rock climbing, body surfing, skiing and other activities that would have once scared her to even try.

"Fear can hold you back, but once you go through an experience like mine, not much scares you anymore,” Littledike says. “I’m not going to sit around and feel bad over a situation that’s not going to change.”

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She says one of her toughest battles is staying mentally healthy.

“You have to get up every day and fight to accomplish your goals, to prove to yourself that your life isn’t over because of an accident,” Littledike says. “But I was also going through hard times before my accident.”

In addition to having her boyfriend at the time break up with her, the teen says her father had been diagnosed with cancer and she found herself severely depressed. “And I was on social media a lot and that can be awful for your mental health,” she says. “I realized that after being in the hospital."

But she also thought social media could be used for good.

"I think that's a big drain looking at things that are unrealistic and not real life,” Littledike says. “So I wanted to be someone who shares real life.”

<p>Courtesy of Kennedy Littledike</p> Kennedy Littledike and her boyfriend

Courtesy of Kennedy Littledike

Kennedy Littledike and her boyfriend

In addition to posts on TikTok and Instagram, she shares her story as a public speaker.

“I struggle with comments that try to tell me what they think happened, or that they don’t believe what happened to me is possible, but I also think there are a lot of people who are helped,” Littledike says. “But I like sharing my story in person more because they are a lot kinder and you can see the impact it makes on them.”

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