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Embracing a Fresh Journey Post a Life-Altering Mishap – Eden Prairie Local News

Losing a portion of her dominant hand hasn’t hindered young Selah Toney’s pace; if anything, she’s embraced it as a challenge to achieve more, recently clinching a national handwriting accolade.

Selah, a second-grade student in Eden Prairie residing in New Hope, suffered the loss of four fingers on her left hand in a kitchen mishap at home last summer.

Her father, Brett Toney, swiftly drove Selah to North Memorial Health Hospital in Robbinsdale. Despite being in shock, Selah began singing a devotional song, “Christ Our Hope in Life and Death,” she had learned at school.

Toney, the lead pastor at Westview Church in Crystal, recalled, “With the reassurance of her singing and the conviction of those lyrics, I felt we would be alright.”

Upon reaching the hospital triage, Toney informed the nurses about Selah’s left-handedness, emphasizing that it was her primary writing hand.

However, to everyone’s surprise, Selah chimed in, “Oh, I can write with my right hand too!” She revealed that she and her right-handed twin sister, Evangeline, used to practice writing with their non-dominant hands for fun.

During a 14-hour surgery, the medical team managed to reattach three of Selah’s fingers. Unfortunately, despite a week in the intensive care unit and leech therapy to enhance circulation, the reattachment was unsuccessful. Subsequently, Selah underwent another surgery to remove the fingers.

The road to recovery was arduous for Selah. As her hand healed, she commenced physical therapy to maximize its functionality.

“It was an emotionally challenging experience as we changed bandages at home and accepted the course of Selah’s journey,” Toney shared.

Triumph Through Persistence

In September, Selah returned to Agape Christi Academy, a classical Christian school at Liberty Baptist Church in Eden Prairie, with unwavering support from her teacher, friends, and the school community.

Approximately six weeks post-accident, Selah’s hand had sufficiently healed to be used while bandaged, though not for intricate motor skills. Instead, she focused on exploring the capabilities of her right hand. She quickly mastered tasks like tying her shoes, buttoning, and zipping.

“She never grumbled about using her right hand but embraced this new challenge,” Toney remarked. “She graciously accepted help from her sister and classmates, building her strength and dexterity.”

Every day in her composition class, Selah diligently worked on improving her penmanship with her right hand. Chrissy Evans, one of her second-grade teachers, noted, “She maintained a positive attitude, persevering without succumbing to discouragement.”

In January, Selah and her peers participated in the 33rd annual, a tradition at their school. By April, Selah discovered that she was among the nine selected from numerous entries. She received the Nicholas Maxim Award in the manuscript category for students with disabilities, based on Zaner-Bloser’s criteria for legibility.

Selah expressed her joy and excitement at winning, citing her favorite letter to write as “T” and her preferred word as “Tumnus,” her Sheepadoodle’s name. For the competition, participants were tasked with writing the sentence, “The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog,” encompassing the entire alphabet.

Selah’s victory brought her joy and a sense of accomplishment. She is set to receive an engraved trophy, a \(500 check, and her school will be granted a \)1,000 Zaner-Bloser product voucher. Additionally, they will receive personalized certificates of achievement from master penman Michael Sull.

Demonstrating Resilience and Tenacity

Selah’s left hand has now fully recuperated, and she continues to approach life with resilience and tenacity, as noted by her father.

“Selah’s dedication to her family and faith has enabled her to face this trial, accept it graciously, and derive lessons from it,” Evans remarked. “In times of adversity, one must exert extra effort to compensate, and witnessing this spill over into all aspects of her life has been remarkable.”

Selah, already an active child, has grown stronger through this experience. She uses a C-hook prosthetic to enjoy activities like swinging on the monkey bars, one of her favorite pastimes. She also engages in biking, trail running, and weekly rock climbing with her family, a sport she embraced shortly before her accident. To grip while climbing, she utilizes the remaining bit of each finger above her left hand’s knuckles.

Selah has found inspiration in videos of climbers with limb differences, adapting their techniques to suit her strengths and abilities.

“She had to discover a new approach—her unique way,” her mother, Kelina Toney, remarked.

This summer, Selah will participate in a session organized by, a national organization offering support, education, and resources for children with upper limb differences and their families.

“We plan to attend a family weekend this summer to meet others with different hands, learn about their strategies,” her mother shared.

Selah’s family hopes that her story and resilience will serve as an inspiration to other children and families facing similar challenges.