CHARLESTON, Ill. (WCIA) – Ma’Lyiah White officially came home July 1st. That in itself the family said is a miracle.
Now, they’re still navigating losing a loved one, and White’s continued recovery after a tragedy on a frozen pond.
“It feels really good. It feels like you know my families complete again,” Bill Croy, Whites’ grandpa, said.
It’s been a long six months for Ma’lyiah White and her family. Now, they’re starting to see a light at the end of the tunnel.
“It feels good to have her home, because it’s a lot easier on her, on me, on her sister. Just having her here on the family. I can’t express what I feel having her home,” Croy said.
After White fell through a frozen pond, and her grandfather Carlos Serafin jumped in after her. Serafin didn’t make it, but White was rescued and flown to the children’s hospital in Peoria where she had been fighting for her life.
“She’s overcame so much from going to being told she may not make it to where she is today,” he said. “They thought when they pulled the breathing tube out of her when she started breathing, they said this is as good as she’s going to get just eye movement, that’s it.”
The family said White is fighter and she proved that.
“She’s sitting here now and went to school this past year,” Croy said.
“It’s nice just to have the family back together again. It has been a long six months,” Amanda Beals, Whites’ great aunt, said.
But they said there is still a road to recovery for her, as she keeps working on physical, occupational and speech therapy.
“I know for Ma’Lyiah she gets a little frustrated because she is used to being how she was before,” Beals said.
The family said they’re learning too. Experiencing things they hadn’t thought about before the accident like having to jump through hoops just for White to use a public restroom.
The family said half of the restrooms don’t have wheelchair accessible sinks or hand dryers and most places don’t have family bathrooms. Meaning sometimes Croy has to take her in the men’s bathroom. Which he said can be difficult.
“We didn’t realize it until you end up in a situation such as ourselves or you already have a special needs child or individual. So, that’s something I would like to fight for just in the nation. Is making things more accessible for everyone,” Beals said.
Croy said everything they’ve been through, they’ve come out the other side together.
“It’s been an experience, I can tell you that. I mean, I don’t wish that upon anyone, but everything I’ve been through has made me a stronger person. It’s made my girls both stronger and my family,” he said.
The family said they can’t express how grateful they are for everyone who has helped them along the way.
They are still updating a Facebook page with all of Ma’Lyiah’s progress. You can follow the updates here.