Edwarda O’Bara’s story is a rare and remarkable one. She slipped into a diabetic coma at the age of 16. Her loving family never lost hope, even though she never fully recovered.
O'Bara was born in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, on March 27, 1953. She moved to Miami, Floria with her family when she was 10 years old. At the time she fell ill she was a bright and popular 16-year-old high school student. She was also a talented artist and musician.
It was shortly before Christmas in December 1969 when O’Bara came down with a case of pneumonia. She was prescribed antibiotics, but continued to feel ill. She was hospitalized and she slipped into a diabetic coma in January 1970. Before losing consciousness she asked her mother, Kaye O’Bara, to never leave her side. Her mother kept that promise.
Despite the negative prognosis Kaye refused to give up on her daughter. She took care of her at home, changing her diapers, feeding her, and bathing her. She also read to her, sang to her, and talked to her. Edwarda is reported to have coughed, grinned, grimaced, blinked, and yawned, but showed no signs of cognition.
Kaye refused to let anyone refer to her child’s condition by its medical term: persistent vegetative state. “I say if they can find me a tomato that smiles, they can say she’s in a vegetative state.”
When Kaye died at the age of 81 she had incurred medical care costs amounting to $200,000. After her mother’s death Edwarda’s sister Colleen, continued to care for her.
In 2012, O'Bara's health began to decline. She died at her home in Miami Gardens, Florida on November 21. She was 59 years old.
Ms O’Bara’s story is a testament to the power of love and hope. She spent 42 years in a coma but her family never stopped loving and caring for her. Kaye’s devotion to her daughter was an inspiration to many people, and her story is a reminder of the power of love and hope.