03/20/2012 10:00 am ET Updated Mar 20, 2012

Kristen Anderson Survives Getting Run Over By 33 Trains, Helps People With Depression Cope

Kristen Anderson thought she had no reason to live. But when she survived getting run over by 33 freight trains, she started to reconsider her purpose in this world.

Anderson had given up after she was raped and her grandmother and three close friends died within a span of two years, according to her organization, Reaching You Ministries. She decided to end her life at 17 on the train tracks near her home.

But even after 33 freight trains driving at 55 miles per hour drove over, slicing off her legs, she didn’t die, the Christian Broadcasting Network reports.

"I just started to cry out to God and for the first time,” Anderson told the news outlet. “I asked Him why He would keep me here, why He would want me, even without my legs.”

Doctors tried reattaching her legs, but couldn’t. Anderson spent the next three years battling depression, surgeries and more thoughts of suicide, according to the news outlet.

But then the same teen who questioned God’s existence, began to use religion to heal herself -- and others.

Anderson turned to Bible school and friends and eventually founded Reaching You Ministries, an organization that helps people contemplating suicide find hope. Its team of volunteers responds to emails from those looking for support and Anderson takes her story around the country to inspire people contemplating suicide to choose life, according to her website.

The now 29-year-old eventually shared her story in her memoir, “Life, In Spite Of Me.”

“The more I talked about it, I realized how alone I wasn’t,” Anderson told “For a long time I thought I was one of the only people struggling with suicide or depression. That was very eye opening for me.”

But as suicide remains a hot topic in the media, and a prime concern in high schools and universities, Anderson sees her role to prevent people from taking their lives as more crucial than ever before.

“I didn’t even think of suicide as an option until one of my friends committed suicide,” Anderson told “It similarly happens that way for other students. They hear it, and it brings their attention to a place you may have never brought attention to before.”