Pikeville 9-year-old shares recovery progress after battling E.coli
For the first time, Channel 3 is hearing from a Pikeville elementary school student who is recovering from an E. coli infection.
Audrey Smith, 9, developed the infection back in July.
The community has since come together to show their support for the little girl.
In her bedroom, she has a world map on the wall, covered with stickers place in specific locations on the map.
"It's where people have been praying and sending cards [from]," Audrey said.
However, several stickers were visible in other parts of the world like Europe and Australia.
Sheri Smith said the support for her daughter, Audrey, has been overwhelming.
"We started putting her cards in this tub but it's gotten so full," Sheri said.
As of Wednesday, Sheri said she had counted more than a thousand cards.
When Channel 3 asked Audrey if she had read all of them, she said, "I'm still working on it."
While in the hospital, Audrey suffered from several complications like high blood pressure.
"She became very sick," Sheri said. "She went into kidney failure."
She said Audrey spent 38 days in the hospital.
By September, Audrey was able to return back to class part-time.
On Wednesday, the welcome sign at Mary V. Wheeler Elementary School read "Welcome Home Audrey."
"I've missed my friends," Audrey said.
Sheri said the support for Audrey hasn't stopped. It's been an emotional time for the family, but Sheri said they never lost hope.
"Naturally, you would think 'I'm going to lose my child' but there was always this calm in our hearts and our spirit that we know God was going to heal her," Sheri said.
She said God continues to heal Audrey.
It's a slow process, but Audrey said she's looking forward to a full recovery.
"I can't wait until I can go back to normal Audrey again," Audrey said.
She's currently on fall break, but she hopes to return to school full-time in the next couple of weeks.
Sheri said her family worked with the Tennessee Department of Health, but they could never determine where Audrey contracted the infection.
There will be a special praise service for Audrey and her family at Fall Creek Falls State Park Amphitheater this Saturday at 2:00 p.m.