VERONA (WSYR-TV) – A teenager who was paralyzed from the neck down after a car crash last year walked into her senior prom on Saturday night.
Oneida senior Justine Jakubowski and seven other teenagers were involved in a one-car-crash on Route 31 after their junior prom in 2012.
Many of the kids were seriously injured. Jakubowski nearly died after her heart stopped and lung collapsed.
For the past year Jakubowski has been learning to walk again with one goal in mind.
“One of my goals when I was in recovery was I wanted to walk at my prom,” said Jakubowski.
“She started with, her toe would move then her foot. Everything came back gradually. She'd only have a couple of fingers then the other fingers would move,” said Justine’s mother Leah Jakubowski.
But the goal of walking within a year looked nearly impossible, so supportive friends came to help make her house handicapped accessible by building a wheelchair ramp so she could leave the house more easily.
“If it wasn't for the ramp I don’t know how I’d be able to get in and out of my house,” said Jakubowski.
With the freedom to move around more freely, Jakubowski became even more motivated. She said, “I wanted to walk so badly.”
After going to therapy four times a week for months, Jakubowski will walk into her senior prom on Saturday night with strength and determination, and her boyfriend’s arm ready for support.
“She has really come a long way we're so proud of her,” said Leah Jakubowski.
Her next goal is to be able to stand longer and learn to walk with a cane.