Cleveland toddler making remarkable strides after serious crash - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Cleveland toddler making remarkable strides after serious crash

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CLEVELAND, TN (WRCB) - A Cleveland toddler is proving doctors wrong just two months after a serious crash. Two-year-old Katie Barkley's story is one of remarkable strides to recovery. Doctors told her parents she'd be paralyzed for life, but Katie continues reaching milestones.

When the toddler first left for rehab in Maryland six weeks ago, she was barely moving her fingertips. Now she's doing more than anyone ever thought she could.

"There was so much negativity going around about how much progress she'd have," Katie's dad, Ryan Barkley, said from Kennedy Krieger Institute in Baltimore on Friday.

"We had several doctors and nurses tell us she'd be nothing more than a quadriplegic," he said.

But little Katie is proving everyone wrong.

The toddler and her mom, Katelynn, crashed on Lee Highway in Cleveland during the February snowstorm. Katie's spine was so injured that she could barely move at all. Now, fast forward two months.

"Her personality is all there," said mom, Katelynn. "The good and the bad," she laughed.

Katie is talking, moving her arms, legs and head, and is standing with help from a machine.

The drive from Cleveland to Kennedy Krieger in Baltimore takes about 10 hours, but dad, Ryan, does it every Thursday. He gets off work and drives through the night.

"I get here anywhere from 7 to 10 in the morning Friday, and then I'm runnin' around to therapy," he said.

Meantime, Katie is inspiring folks across the country. New York City's fire department, where a cousin works, just raised $42,000 to help.

"I was so thankful to see how many people really cared," Katelynn said, who burst into tears when she opened the check.

The Barkley family says they're also thankful for the doctors that had hope in Katie, when no other rehab could accept her.

"They have a lot of faith in her," said Katelynn, who accompanies her daughter to hours of rehab six days a week.

Now starting to eat food, Katie's on her way to breathing on her own, and eventually, standing without help.

"We've been here a month and two weeks now, and she's already come this far," Mom said. "There's no telling how far she can come in the last month and a half we're here."

The toddler is expected to be back home in Cleveland by mid-June. To stay updated with Katie's progress click here or to donate, click here.
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