Canastota (WSYR-TV) -- It’s been a long, hard fight for a local 12-year-old who was seriously hurt in a car crash earlier this year. Now, after months of rehab, she’s home. Her doctors say her recovery was extraordinary.
12-year-old Emily Simmons’ family, friends and classmates made sure her homecoming was unforgettable on Wednesday as they lined the streets of Canastota to welcome her home.
As a long journey of recovery continues, the men and women who saved the life of a little girl months ago, finally brought her home.
"It was a miracle. It was really a miracle. To see her the way she was in the hospital and then to see what we saw today. It couldn't be any better,” said Simmons’ former cheerleading coach, Lisa Picciano.
By simply standing and waving, Simmons defied the odds, having survived a devastating crash on the way home from a softball game in May. Paramedic Bill DeKing was one of the first people on the scene.
"She was ejected from the vehicle. When we got there, she was in the middle of the road in very critical condition,’ DeKing said. "Truthfully, we didn't really think she was going to make it."
Friends and strangers followed Simmons’ progress through a coma, several infections, and surgery, followed by months of rehab in Schenectady. Slowly there were signs that the 12-year-old, who loves softball, cheerleading, and the color purple, had gained enough strength to return to her hometown.
"She's beautiful. She is very kind. She loves animals and she is always so nice and joyful,” said Simmons’ friend Jakara Mitchell.
"I want her to think that everybody here in Canastota loves and supports her and we are so glad she is back,” said classmate Haley Morris.
"At this time, it is hard for her to comprehend a lot at one time, but it is going to help her progress, no doubt about it, to see everybody behind her,” DeKiing continued.
The future is unpredictable. But, Emily will face it with a big cheering section.
"She's had a long road behind her and still has a long road ahead of her. But, she'll make it. She is a tough little girl,” Picciano said.A fundraiser for Emily will be held on October 21 at the Rusty Rail in Canastota.