Crash survivor leaves hospital, meets boxing champ

Thursday, October 4, 2012
Shenell Maisonneuve

On Friday night, Oct. 6, boxer B.J. Flores will go head to head in Springfield against Egyptian fighter Ahmed Samir at "Fight Night at the Shrine" -- but when he does, he'll go into the ring with more than his gloves and a determination to win.

Flores is going in to win for a friend.

Shenell Maisonneuve of Eureka Springs just spent almost four months in the hospital recovering from a tragic motorcycle wreck on June 11 which left her in a coma and her boyfriend dead.

But Maisonneuve, who was a popular figure where she worked at Chaser's before the accident, is a survivor -- though she lost her right arm and endured 24 surgeries in the process.

"I've been out of the hospital just a few days," Maisonneuve said from home early this week. "I am definitely a lot happier since getting home. Being in the hospital for so long, it's hard to recognize that it's going to get better. But it does. I felt better the moment I stepped out the door."

A major highlight of Maisonneuve's hospital stay was a visit on Sept. 26 from Flores. The 33-year-old fighter, a Springfield native who has lost only one fight in his professional career, took time out of his schedule to visit Maisonneuve in the hospital and to encourage her in her own battles.

"I have ringside seats for the bout," Maisonneuve said. "And I am planning on getting up and walking over to him during the event. Until recently I had not walked in three months, but I was determined not to take that wheelchair home with me."

Maisonneuve said Flores told her he would never face an opponent as tough as the one she'd already beaten.

An even brighter note, Maisonneuve is newly engaged. "His name is Travis," she said. "We've known each other for a long time and he has always been a wonderful guy, but I always had a boyfriend. But when he heard what had happened to me, he couldn't stand it. He came straight to the hospital."

Maisonneuve says she misses all her friends and looks forward to getting back out in the community. "I'm getting better every day," she said. "Right now I'm still getting used to being home."

The upcoming fight will take place at the Shriner's Mosque in Springfield, Mo., on Saturday. Doors open at the Shrine at 5:30, and the first undercard fight is at 6. Flores' fight is at 8 p.m. and will be aired live on KOZL, Z-97 FM.

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