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While Dee was causing all kinds of pain and heartache for her brother Raj on “What’s Happening!” during its three year run, the actress who played the iconic character spent part of the first season in real physical pain from a horrific car accident that killed her step-father, put her in a coma for three weeks and left her with a broken pelvis, leg and arm.

“I was gone from the show for about six months,” says Danielle Spencer, speaking to EURweb exclusively. “They stopped taping the show for about a month and I just healed pretty quickly. Basically I had the summer to heal and I came back for the second season.”

The Jersey-born actress said she continued filming “What’s Happening!” until the show was cancelled in 1979, then, went on to high school and finished college without any lingering ailments from the accident.

Then in 2003 – 26 years after the Sept. 7, 1977 car crash – she suddenly felt a tingling in her leg.

Spencer – who at this point has been married four years and a veterinarian for seven– initially wrote it off as a reaction to the cold weather in New York, where she was living at the time, and the stress of walking all over town while shopping for Christmas gifts. But in the next three months, the tingling turned to numbness up and down both legs, and eventually a stabbing pain in her back.

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Below, Danielle explains why any reader would be inspired by her story:

Danielle Spencer-Fields (inspsiration offered in book Through the Fire) by CherieNic

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