12 years after horrific crash, inspiring teen gets special gift

- Kacie Williams was just 5 years old when she was involved in a horrible car crash 12 years ago. She was inspiration to a lot of people then and that hasn't changed in a decade.

Kacie is now 17-years-old and has been through years of physical therapy. But she still has her whole life ahead of her.

It was January of 2006 when Kevin and Claudette's daughter, five-year-old superstar gymnast Kacie, was fighting for her life. She was comatose from a head injury followed by a stroke after a rollover car accident on her way to a gymnastics meet.

"Waiting and praying that my daughter comes out of this," Claudette said in January 2006.

"I need a miracle," her dad, Kevin, said in January 2006. "I just want everyone to keep praying for her - keep praying for her because when we got here they said she probably wouldn't make it."

Kacie was a fighter and five months later, she walked across the stage at her kindergarten graduation. Her left side was weakened by the stroke but her determination was stronger than ever.

Kacie spent the next 12 years walking and biking and, basically on a roll at physical therapy. Now that she's about to graduate high school she's getting a bike of her very own. 

She was stunned when the group surprised her with her own wheels.

"I like it," she said.

It's been a long time coming. Her physical therapists at Crawl, Walk, Jump, Run Therapy Clinic in Clinton Township reached out to Freedom Concepts to build a bike especially for her. 

Then they reached out to Adidas, her favorite brand, and viola: she had her own ride and with it come completely new superstar kicks.

So many were gathered that day to cheer her on because they know and love her and her fighting spirit. It's been a fight for 12 years.

Just two days earlier, Kacie was in the hospital with pneumonia and almost two years ago she spent her 16th birthday in the hospital, undergoing another brain surgery related to the accident all those years ago.

"She ended up having to have surgery so they had to cut off her hair and go in and reconnect her shunt - so that was where we spent her 16th birthday," Claudette said.

Her mom said it's been a whirlwind but she and so many others draw their inspiration from Kacie's determination.

"She's just like 'Mom I've got to go to therapy. She never gives up, she always perseveres and that just keeps me going."

Physical therapy is a fact of life for Kacie and her therapists see this new bike as both a fun and functional opportunity for Kacie to work on her movement.

"Something so important to that neurological system is just a repetitive movement and control of that limb," said physical therapist Kendell Myers. "And that's what this is going to offer her to do to when she's at home: get outside and really enjoy being outside and enjoy a piece a piece of equipment like this, but also get some good exercise to that leg."

Kacie just wanted to do what everybody else can do. In many ways, she does so much more.

She performed her poem, 'Believe', at a local hospital. Here's just a snippet:

"12 years two months with this disability, 

determined to overcome this adversity

Days, months, years. 

Many many tears.

Therapy therapy therapy. 

To overcome adversity. 

I have overcome because I am me 

And that's all I can be."

The fact that she's here and has come so far for her family is truly a miracle. 

"I think I really inspire a lot of people," Kacie said. "Not many kids go through what I go through."

The secret to her success: attitude.

"Positive attitude," Kacie said. "Don't let anything stop you from doing you - just keep being yourself and doing what you do."

For Kacie that means prom in May and graduation in June. She'll also turn 18 and go to community college to study fashion. But first, she just wants to do what everybody else can do: ride her bike.

"I'm really thankful and grateful for the whole team putting this together for Kacie," Claudette said. "Kacie has inspired me so much - I just love my daughter so much."

"I'm going to slow roll and I'm going to ride my bike to slow roll," Kacie said

Kacie got her chance to get out on the bike last Friday and really enjoyed it. She is planning to go to the Slow Roll in Detroit May 7, she had prom May 24 and she will graduate Royal Oak High School on June 1.
 

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