Miracle child recovering after tragic accident
By Steve Herring
Published in News on September 6, 2010 1:46 PM
The family of 16-month-old Elayah "Liyah" Monae Garner doesn't know how long it will before she will be able to run and play like she could before that awful Wednesday in July when she was accidentally run over in her yard, leaving her with severe head injuries.
But it will happen, said her grandmother, Beverly Brooks. Liyah is already a miracle child, she said.
Mrs. Brooks said she believed in the miracle even as she watched her granddaughter being placed aboard a helicopter for the emergency flight to Pitt County Memorial Hospital in Greenville.
Just hours earlier, for some reason, Liyah had left the safety of the front porch at her home on Camp Jubilee Road and run into the yard and into the path of the family SUV as it was being moved by her father.
She ran into the path of the vehicle and was run over.
Liyah, the daughter of DeMarcus and Remeshia Brooks Garner, was taken first to Wayne Memorial Hospital then airlifted to Pitt Memorial, where the family received grim news about the extent of her injuries.
The outlook, doctors said, was not encouraging.
But Mrs. Brooks said she and her family knew better. Now they are looking forward to the day when they can bring their little girl home.
"We kept the faith," Mrs. Brooks said. "From the beginning I believed that God, by us being a Christian family, I believed what His word said. I just knew within myself He was going to bring her through and that she was going to be a miracle for others to see and believe what God can do.
"Considering that the doctors thought she wouldn't make it and at one time they told us that she would have a meaningless life, that she would just lay there and be deaf, mute, couldn't walk or anything like that. One doctor who has been here 13 years said that he had never seen anything like this before. We are looking for a recovery. If there is any offset it is minimal. It's not like she won't be able to go to school or get an education. First they said it would be a wasted life and she would just lay there, but God turned it around."
Now Liyah's face once again lights up when Mrs. Brooks sings, "I love Liyah. Yes I do. Liyah loves me, so do we" -- a pet song the family had made up for her prior to the accident. And like any other 16-month-old, Liyah stretches out her arms to be picked up, and soon falls asleep in grandmother's arms.
For Liyah's family, it has been a tough six weeks. Not only has Liyah fought to overcome the head trauma, she has suffered blood clots in both legs and there have been concerns about her blood sodium levels. Physical therapists have been working with her to keep her limbs from getting stiff.
She was moved into a regular hospital room last Wednesday, prior to starting intensive speech and physical therapy. The goal is to have her up and walking within six to eight weeks, Mrs. Brooks said.
Just a few weeks ago, doctors thought she would need immediate surgery because of the injury to her brain. But after more tests, they decided it was not needed.
The doctors say her recovery is a miracle, Mrs. Brooks said.
"She is a fighter. They say she is fighter. Considering all of what has happened she is doing great," her grandmother said.
Doctors say rehabilitation could take a year to 18 months, but they believe she can make a full recovery, Mrs. Brooks said. Liyah is again moving and kicking and recognizes family members. She is alert and again enjoys watching cartoons.
Since the moment she entered the hospital, someone has been with her almost constantly.
"We just could not leave her," Mrs. Brooks said. "The hospital staff was just in awe about the commitment from the families and friends. If you were to go into her room you would see pictures, a hundred or more, balloons ... It is like when you walk into her room you are walking into where someone is celebrating a birthday."
People also have been able to follow Liyah's progress on Facebook.
"We had so many people say, 'You are in our prayers,'" Mrs. Brooks said. "Every time we would put an improvement on (Facebook), how she was progressing, they would respond."
Mrs. Brooks said that her granddaughter knows her family supports her, especially big brother ILleko, 9, who consider himself to be her chief protector.
ILleko was attending summer school at Spring Creek Elementary School on the day of the accident. When news of the accident reached the school, the staff immediately stepped up to help.
"His teacher came out and said, 'Mrs. Brooks don't tell him, let us bring him to the hospital after he gets out school,'" she said. "They came and I looked up and there was the principal, Mr. (Charles) Ivey, the (guidance) counselor. They came to see how they could help the family and to give their support. That was so touching, them coming, they didn't have to do it.
"It was just so much support, so much support that just come in. Just to see the love and support that came in from the community. They came to our rescue, the churches, the friends, the neighbors."