More than two months after a tree fell on her while hiking, 10-year-old Katie O’Neill and her family spoke exclusively with Channel 3 to express how thankful they are that the Granby community is supporting her road to recovery.
“My mom told me that God obviously has plans for me because that was like a freak accident,” Katie O’Neill told Channel 3.
“I’m very thankful that I’m still here and I get to be with my family.”
Dozens of people showed up to support Katie’s recovery at the Valley Community Church on Sunday, nine weeks after Katie was injured when a tree branch fell on her while hiking with her father and brother in the McLean Game Refuge in February.
Katie entered the room of supporters wearing a big smile, and gave hugs to the people who continue to root for her to grow stronger every day.
“Katie, she’s such a fighter,” said Katie’s mother, Leslie. “She’s working hard.”
Leslie told Channel 3 that Katie’s leg is healing, her arm is out of the splint, and her head and brain are slowly getting better, too.
“It was a freak, freak accident what happened,” said Leslie. “When her classmates and her friends heard about it, they just rallied.”
Shortly after the accident, while Katie was recovering at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center, her classmates and friends took to the basketball court at her school to play a game of basketball dedicated to Katie and her recovery.
“She still has a long way to go but she’s made amazing progress so far so, and we’re here today to celebrate that,” said Katie’s father, Vincent O’Neill.
“Celebrate her recovery and all the support that we’ve gotten from folks in the community.”
Katie told Channel 3 that she does not remember the moment she was hurt, but what she learned since is something she wants to share.
“Even if you get scared because you’re overwhelmed by something, just stay strong,” said Katie.
And all who attended on Sunday said they wish Katie the best in her recovery.
“She’s here for a reason and she’s going to continue to amaze us,” said Leslie.
Katie told Channel 3 that she is looking forward to making a full recovery and getting back into her normal routine. She said she is planning to return to school part time on Monday.
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