SPOKANE, Wash.--A 10-year-old Spokane girl who was injured in an accident in May and was unconscious for nearly two weeks was conscious and recovering well on Friday, according to her family.
Ayla James was critically injured in a car wreck outside of Ritzville in early May. She was taken to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle for serious back and head injuries. James’ soccer teammate, 10-year-old Gracie Snider, was killed in the same wreck. Washington State Patrol said the car they were in crashed into the back of a semi-truck.
James, her dad and Snider were all on their way home from a soccer game when the car they were in crashed. Washington State Patrol said 38-year-old Nathan James was traveling Eastbound on I-90 when his car crashed into the back of a semi-truck.
James’ family was not sure that the 10-year-old would ever wake up.
"It was terrifying. That's your little baby in there and you're not sure what's going on,” said Ayla’s mom, Janelle James.
Janelle James recalled the first time her daughter opened her eyes after the crash.
"We were very elated that she was able to open her eyes and look at us. Huge, hugely amazing,” said Janelle James.
James had traumatic brain and back injuries. She was not able to talk on Friday but was working with a team of therapists at Seattle Children’s Hospital. The therapists were helping her learn how to walk and speak again.
More than 73,000 people had been reading and positing about James’ progress on her CaringBridge site. Janelle James said the community support was incredible.
CONNECT: Ayla James' CaringBridge site
Friends, family and strangers filled James’ room with gifts and letters.
"We read every single one to her,” said Janelle James.
Donations from fundraisers continued to come in on Friday for James. The Ayla James Recovery Fund raised more than $29,000.
"How incredibly loved we feel from the community. That's the fuel pushing Ayla,” said Janelle James.
The money was helping James’ family stay with her through her treatment. They hoped to have James home in a matter of months.
Janelle James said she did not know the long-term effects of her daughter’s injuries. She said she knew that every day was a gift.
"It's a huge answer to prayer that she's alive. And anything beyond that is a miracle,” said Janelle James.