Sharon Stevens: Where is the “Ordinary Angel” Now?

Jon Gunn’s drama film ‘Ordinary Angels’ chronicles Sharon Stevens’ efforts to help the Schmitts, who have been dealing with the illness of five-year-old Michelle Schmitt. While Ed struggles with overwhelming debt and lack of resources to lead his daughter to a liver transplant surgery, Sharon shows up out of nowhere to rescue the family from hopelessness. As the movie depicts, Sharon’s assistance led Michelle to her life-saving surgery. Decades after her intervention, Sharon still tries to spread hope and faith among those who fight varying life battles. Even though the difficulties of old age affect her, Sharon is far from ending her commitment to her community!

Becoming the Ordinary Angel

Sharon Stevens’ life took a turn when she encountered an edition of The Courier-Journal, which detailed the struggles of Michelle Schmitt, who had been suffering from biliary atresia. This congenital liver disease made a liver transplant necessary for her survival. At the time, Michelle’s mother had just died, and Sharon couldn’t stop her from attending the former’s funeral. After learning the plight of the Schmitts, she decided to help the family, and her efforts began with the “Hair Angels Hairathon.” As a hairdresser, she used her skills to raise money for Michelle.

“A lot of people say they’re going to do something and don’t do anything, and I’m not one of those kind of people. If I say I’m going to do it, I’m going to do it,” Sharon told WDRB about helping the Schmitt family. Sharon even succeeded in arranging a private aircraft to take Michelle to Omaha when a liver became available for her transplant surgery. Finally, in January 1994, a donor became approved for Michelle. Still, the severe cold wave that affected the state of Kentucky jeopardized Sharon and the Schmitts’ plans to take the little girl to Nebraska.

“Obviously, with 17 inches of snow, the city [Louisville] was shut down so my grandma called Sharon to figure out what we should do,” Michelle’s older sister, Ashley, told The Courier-Journal. Sharon raised unignorable awareness concerning Michelle’s predicament to ensure the latter would receive the liver. “Sharon started calling radio stations to rally the community because the Southeast Christian Church parking lot needed to be cleared for a helicopter to land and pick up my dad and Michelle to get to the airport and onto a private plane to take them to Omaha,” Ashley added.

Sharon Stevens: Fact vs. Fiction

Even though ‘Ordinary Angels’ chronicles a significant part of Sharon’s life, several fictional elements are in the film, starting with Sharon’s alcoholism. In the film, the hairdresser is an alcoholic and she sets out to save Michelle also to rescue herself from the darkness of her lifestyle. In reality, Sharon has never been an alcoholic. “I’ve never been a drinker, I’ve learned from others’ mistakes,” Sharon added to WDRB, referring to her mother, who was an alcoholic. “Alcohol took her [Sharon’s mother] life over, but she was not that person. She passed away by the time I was 21 years old,” she added.

Sharon wanted the aftermath of alcoholism addressed in the movie. However, due to time constraints, the screenwriters decided to eliminate her mother’s backstory and turn her into an addict. “I asked them to — that’s the one thing I wanted them to put in there and they invented it to be me because of time. At first, I was reluctant, because so many people knew I didn’t drink. […] That is only the way they could do it. So, I told them to go for it. I’m an old lady. What do I care? If it gets a message out, I’m all for it,” she said in the same WDRB interview. Furthermore, as the film depicts, Sharon was never separated from her son Derek.

Sharon is Leading Her Retired Life Now

After Michelle’s successful surgery, Sharon remained in touch with the Schmitts for a while. She worked as a hairdresser at Angels, Inc., the hair salon she established. In 2007, she married Perry Evans, whom she described as her “soulmate.” “He [Evans] gave me the love and confidence to forge ahead, just like the girls [Michelle and Ashley] did, and claim a happy, loving life beyond the gloom in my past. He uplifted my spirit with simple laughter and acceptance,” Sharon wrote in her book ‘Ordinary Angels.’ Around three years after her marriage, Sharon sustained a severe injury due to a car accident.

A truck crashed into Sharon’s car at high speed, only for her to sustain a serious head injury that continues to affect her to this day. Evans unexpectedly passed away in April 2015 due to a head injury suffered during the heavy rains that hit Louisville. Evans’ tragic death, her head injury, and the inevitable side effects of aging troubled her life in the seventies. “People have taken advantage of her [Sharon], abused her, conned and deserted her, undervalued and definitely underestimated her,” reads her book. However, she didn’t let her age defeat her. “Like many in our seventies-plus population, [Sharon] remains vulnerable and too trusting but fiercely independent,” adds the memoir.

Derek, who has been caring for Sharon since her head injury, motivated his mother to write her experiences helping Michelle, which paved the way for the birth of her memoir, ‘Ordinary Angels.’ Sharon is proud that Hilary Swank was encouraged to portray her in Jon Gunn’s film. “[Swank] was amazing in it. It makes me feel honored that she wanted to play me,” she told WDRB. She joined hands with Ed Schmitt at the film’s premiere. They remain friends to this day. Sharon is no longer a hairdresser and is currently leading her retired life in Louisville with her two sons.

Sharon still hasn’t stopped helping children in need. Earlier this month, she shared the life story of Michael Antony AKA Mikey, who was born with ticks, seizures, and brain bleeds. She also attends several church events to spread hope and faith. Sharon describes herself as a “Protestant Christian soldier who loves all people but dislikes bad behavior.” The author takes part in several events concerning her book and the film. She has been struggling with health concerns. Towards the end of last year, Sharon had to undergo surgery to remove a stent following her battle with kidney stones. Still, she is as active as ever to inspire her followers.

 Read More: Ordinary Angels: Where Was the Inspiring Movie Filmed?