By Dr. Sanjay Gupta
Long Beach, CA (KTLA/CNN) - It was a holiday outing with a special twist: A ride on a helicopter.
But the chopper fell from the sky and erupted in flames.
Somehow Laura Sharpe survived, just barely.
Four years later, she now helps other trauma survivors through art therapy.
It was Memorial Day weekend of 2008 when Sharpe and her stepdaughter headed out of town on a 14 minute flight from Long Beach, California to Catalina Island.
"There were four of us traveling with two of the helicopter company's staff and life changed. There was mechanical failure and we lost power," said Sharpe.
Three of the six aboard died in the crash. Sharpe's daughter was badly injured and saw her mother and dragged her from the wreckage by her hair.
Critical care specialist Dr. Andrew Feinberg assumed responsibility for Sharpe's treatment.
"She had literally fallen out of the sky, and every part of her body was either fractured or suffering in some way. I wasn't really sure how she would survive everything," said Feinberg.
Sharpe suffered burns over nearly half of her body, sustained major brain trauma, severe damage to her eyes and face, dozens of fractures, collapsed lungs, not to mention severe psychological trauma.
"I'm newly configured from head to toe. They did such a beautiful job putting me back together. I'm like Humpty Dumpty. It definitely took all the king's horses and all the king's men," said Sharpe.
Today she is moving forward, healing by expressing herself through art.
Sharpe believes in art therapy so strongly that she founded Artists for Trauma, a non-profit dedicated to helping other trauma survivors heal.
Shelly Jones is an Artists for Trauma patient, and lost her ability to see following a stroke, as the result of a bacterial infection in her heart. She's been paired with Potter Ki Cho.
"It would be difficult for me to see what I make with clay, but I can feel it," said Jones.
Sharpe feels she's found her life's purpose.
"To bring some joyous interaction to distract the survivor from their pain and bring them to love," she said.