Life After The Ohio State Fair Fire Ball Tragedy: A Survivor’s Journey

COLUMBUS, Ohio – According to Keziah Lewis, the last six years were not what she had imagined for herself as a little girl.

She was living on campus at the University of Cincinnati when she entered her junior year. She abruptly claimed that her life had taken several unexpected turns.

There have been times, according to Keziah, when she has thought that finishing college is unlikely.

Keziah declared that she had, at last, rediscovered herself. She will cross the stage at the graduation ceremony on Saturday to receive her diploma.

Life After The Ohio State Fair Fire Ball Tragedy: A Survivor's Journey

The Ohio State Fairgrounds changed the trajectory of her life and the lives of her family about six years ago. Keziah is one of many individuals who sustained significant injuries from a Fire Ball ride malfunction at the Ohio State Fair in 2017.

Tyler Jarrell, her boyfriend, passed away.

After the collision, Keziah underwent 12 operations, spent months in the hospital, and unexpectedly quit college at the University of Cincinnati.

“It really hurts sometimes I think of the parts of me that have kind of died or that I don’t really see in myself anymore,” Lewis stated.

Keziah, however, asserted that she would not let a tragedy define her.

“I think that it was kind of like a new beginning in a sense. I feel kind of like a phoenix a little bit,” Keziah stated.

On April 28, 2023, WCPO 9 shared a tweet on its Twitter account:

She took a couple of years off from college after the accident. She claimed that she returned to her long-standing nine-to-five employment. After the pandemic, she experienced a mental shift.

“I think it was actually during the shutdown when everything like my job was shut down for a good month or so, and there was nothing really to do, and I actually started reading,” Lewis stated.

“Every time I pick up a book and I read a story I think wow but what if this would happen what if this could be the ending it inspires me to kind of branch off and create a whole different world in a whole different situation with my own. And so that’s one of the reasons why I got into English creative writing as a major in the first place.”

That’s when, according to Keziah, she grabbed her pen again and resumed writing.

She registered for UC’s online courses. She eventually resumed attending classes on campus once or twice a week after things started to feel pretty typical again.

Clarissa Williams, her mother, describes this as a tale of faith, hope, and tenacity.

“Embrace this journey that you’re on the sky’s the limit for you and you are an amazing person. I call her my heaven on earth,” Williams stated.

Keziah claimed that on Wednesday morning, she submitted her last assignment. She will attend the formal ceremony on Saturday along with the rest of her graduating class. She holds a degree in creative writing in English.

“I am so stoked, ecstatic. I do cartwheels and backflips inside every time I think about it,” she stated.

All this week, her loved ones have been rejoicing. Keziah claimed she never wanted to celebrate her graduation in a significant way, but her family told her it wasn’t going to happen. Keziah is being referred to as “kind of a big deal.”

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Keziah claimed that she finally feels like herself again.

“It’s been a roller coaster,” Lewis said. “I feel like if six-years-ago me would look at me now, it would be kind of in awe and shock because I feel like I have grown to a point where things that used to bother me and things that I thought I would never be able to do or get past or move past they don’t affect me as much and I feel like I’ve kind of I don’t know just expanded my mind a lot on so many different aspects of life.”

She claimed that rather than ignoring the past, she was advancing on it.

According to Keziah, Tyler, the person she lost that day, will be by her side at every turn.

“I feel like he’d be so happy and so excited. Yeah… I think he would definitely be proud of me,” she stated.

Next, Keziah mentioned that she might someday pursue a master’s degree.

She aspires to release her book in the future.

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