Although modern medicine has made great leaps and strides, there are still some cases that defy explanation. Patients who have been told to prepare for the worst have sometimes made miraculous recoveries that have stunned medical experts around the world. It can be incredibly inspirational to witness such a case for yourself, like the surprising revival of John Smith in American Christian drama Breakthrough. He was a 14-year-old teenager who came back to life after his heart had stopped for 43 minutes.

What are some other real-life miracles that have cannot be explained by science? We take a look at five resilient survivors who pulled through terrible circumstances and emerged victorious – without anyone knowing how.


1. Annabel Beam (Miracles from Heaven)
Recovered from pseudo-obstruction motility disorder and antral hypomotility disorder after falling inside a tree 

Annabel Beam (Kylie Rogers) and her mother Christy (Jennifer Garner) in Miracles from Heaven. Credit: Sony Pictures Releasing

Annabel Beam (Kylie Rogers) and her mother Christy (Jennifer Garner) in Miracles from Heaven. Credit: Sony Pictures Releasing

Jennifer Garner’s showing as desperate mother Christy Beam in Miracles from Heaven earned her rave reviews. The film was based on the real-life case of Annabel Beam, a five-year-old girl who woke up one night complaining of a stomachache. It turned out that she had a rare stomach disease, antral hypomotility disorder, and had to undergo an emergency surgical operation.

However, complications arose – she was diagnosed with pseudo-obstruction motility disorder after the surgery, which meant eating became a huge problem for her. Still, she was in pretty good spirits – until she climbed up a tree, fell, and landed in a hole in the middle of the tree’s trunk.

When she was finally rescued, she went through a series of medical tests to check if she had any broken bones or injuries. She had none. In fact, she didn’t even have any signs of her stomach disease! Her illnesses had miraculously vanished, and she’s remained healthy till today.


2. Greg Thomas
Recovered from stage 4 cancer after restoring an old church

Greg Thomas. Credit: Kare11

Greg Thomas. Credit: Kare11

Back in 2012, 60-year-old Greg Thomas was awaiting his final days. He had been diagnosed with stage 4 cancer three years prior, and had put all his affairs in order in preparation for his end. To cope with the stress and agony (he could only eat through a painful feeding tube, and was undergoing chemotherapy), he would often go on walks in the Minnesota country side with his dog.

It was then that he came across a dilapidated chapel. It had fallen into disrepair so long ago that it didn’t even have a name when Greg Thomas came across it. But he felt compelled to restore the church, so he started on the Herculean one-man task of making the church habitable again.

And that’s when his cancer suddenly went into remission.

The cancer did return, five years later, and claimed Greg Thomas’ life. But he was given a five-year respite from the terminal illness, which was a pretty amazing miracle in and of itself. Not everyone gets a second chance the way Greg did.


3. Kali Hardig
Survived parasitic meningitis

Kali Hardig. Credit: Ark Times

Kali Hardig. Credit: Ark Times

A rare brain-eating amoeba, Naegleria fowleri, has claimed 126 lives out of 128 cases in the past 50 years. Out of the two people to have ever survived parasitic meningitis, Kali Hardig was one of them. The 12-year-old girl contracted it after a swim at a water park, and had to be warded in the hospital immediately. She was given a cocktail of treatments – but nobody expected her to survive.

After 22 days in the ICU, the parasitic infection vanished. It was a miracle.

And we’re pretty sure that Kali Hardig will never swim in public bodies of water ever again.


4. Michael Crowe
Damaged heart healed itself completely

Michael Crowe. Credit: NY Daily News

Michael Crowe. Credit: NY Daily News

A 23-year-old man found that his heart was working at only 10% capacity, thanks to acute myocarditis (an inflammation of the heart muscle). Michael Crowe desperately needed a heart transplant, but he also had blood poisoning, which complicated things. Things looked bleak for Michael.

Then all of a sudden, his heart repaired itself. His blood pressure returned to normal, and when the doctors performed an ultrasound scan on his heart, they found nothing. No damage, no scarring, nothing. It was as if his heart had never been damaged – and was a perfectly healthy, working heart.

Nobody has ever been able to explain that miracle.


5. John Smith (Breakthrough)
Recovered after his heart stopped beating for 43 minutes

John Smith (Marcel Ruiz) with parents Brian (Josh Lucas) and Joyce (Chrissy Metz) in Breakthrough. Credit: Golden Village Cinemas

John Smith (Marcel Ruiz) with parents Brian (Josh Lucas) and Joyce (Chrissy Metz) in Breakthrough. Credit: Golden Village Cinemas

In the winter of 2015, the lakes of Missouri had been frozen over, leaving frigidly cold water underneath the thin ice. John Smith, 14, fell through the ice at Lake Sainte Louise, and was submerged for 15 minutes. When he was finally rescued, his heart had stopped.

Doctors tried CPR, resuscitation methods, everything – but none of it worked. John’s entire family was called in to say their final goodbyes to him, since it was expected that he would soon pass away without a pulse.

Then he woke up. His heart had started again.

Although he was weak and delirious, he survived. He eventually pulled through, and the inspirational story of his recovery became the basis of the movie, Breakthrough.

Breakthrough. Credit: Golden Village Cinemas

Breakthrough. Credit: Golden Village Cinemas

After the harrowing incident, Joyce Smith (John’s mother) penned a book about the experience, titled The Impossible: The Miraculous Story of a Mother’s Faith and Her Child’s Resurrection. The book was eventually adapted into the movie, Breakthrough. It’s a dramatisation of John Smith’s accident and subsequent revival – but it’s not just a story about an accident. It’s tale of faith, belief, and hope. It’s an inspirational film about being able to achieve anything, as long as you believe.

Watch it for yourself, you’ll believe in John Smith’s very own medical Breakthrough.


Credits: Sony Pictures Releasing, Kare11, Ark Times, NY Daily News, Golden Village Cinemas


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