This Is Carolina: Conway woman finds triumph through tragedy of losing her son

Published: Jun. 16, 2022 at 6:28 PM EDT
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CONWAY, S.C. (WMBF) - Kelli Sinsabaugh is the general manager of Planet Fitness Conway.

By looking at her, you’d never be able to tell she’s been through hell and back again.

Nearly three years ago, Sinsabaugh lost her son, Austin, in a tragic, single-car accident. She lost control of her car after she merged over uneven pavement since only part of the road was newly paved. She lost consciousness and had to go through a difficult recovery.

“I was left with a lot of injuries,” Sinsabaugh said. “Broken leg, broken pelvis area, skull fractures, back, neck.”

While she made it out alive, Austin didn’t.

“He was killed on impact,” Sinsabaugh said.

Sinsabaugh says the tragedy of losing her son was extremely difficult for her to get through.

“He was my sidekick,” she said. “I coached his baseball teams all growing up. I was at every school event. I mean, I didn’t miss anything.”

At the time of the accident, Sinsabaugh was working part-time at Planet Fitness.

After three months of bed rest, she eventually started working again.

Over time, she worked her way all the way up to general manager. It was something she never would’ve imagined would be possible not too long ago.

She credits her climb to the outpouring of love she received after the accident.

“All the way up to Austin’s funeral, I had Planet Fitness employees, Planet Fitness gym members at his funeral. Just people I’ve made a lot of relations with all the way down the ladder were there for support,” Sinsabaugh said.

When life hit rock bottom for Sinsabaugh, all hope seemed lost.

But the thought of her son has stayed with her the whole time. And he’s helped her get to where she is now.

“I hope I make him proud,” she said. “It’s finding ways to still live on, not only in his memory but making him proud and showing him I can still do this. Although my life was turned outside, my life didn’t end, and I still have to carry on the best way I can.”

Sinsabaugh says in addition to the support she received from her Planet Fitness family, she also received lots of support from her friends and her church.

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