little girl who miraculously survived being struck by a car three years ago is
defying the odds, as
she celebrates a special milestone amid
her continuous recovery.
After months of
surgeries and years of therapies, Shaylie Edwards, now 6, was able to achieve
the incredible: She graduated from kindergarten.
"This kid was
just meant to do something amazing," Shaylie’s mom, Erica Edwards of Reno,
Nevada, told Fox News Digital.
On June 6, 2019,
Shaylie had finished her last day of preschool and was ready for summer
After dinner, she and
her then-7-year-old sister Emma convinced their dad, Shannon Edwards, to take
them to a nearby park to play.
Erica Edwards stayed
behind to do the dishes and had the windows open. Suddenly, she heard a
"I ran out back,
looked over my fence and right in my vision was Shaylie on the road,"
A car coming along the
crosswalk hit both Shaylie and her father.
When he saw the car
coming toward them, dad Shannon Edwards lifted Shaylie up to get her out of the
way — but when the car hit him, he lost his grip on his daughter.
Shaylie hit the hood
of the car and flew 40 feet in the air before she landed on the pavement, Erica
Edwards told Fox News Digital.
The helmet the girl
had been wearing — because she was planning to ride her scooter in the park —
was smashed to pieces.
Erica and a bystander
performed CPR on little Shaylie until paramedics arrived.
Shaylie rode in one
ambulance while Erica Edwards and her husband rode in another to Renown Medical
Center in Reno.
Dad Shannon Edwards, 46, suffered seven fractures in his face; he needed full facial reconstruction. In total, he spent two-and-a-half weeks in the hospital. Today he has four permanent titanium plates in his face, said Erica Edwards.
Young Shaylie had
suffered a broken jaw in two places, a broken neck in two places, a broken
femur, a fractured sacrum and a brain injury.
As the hospital's trauma team performed tests on Shaylie to determine her treatment, Erica Edwards asked to stay with her daughter.
Because the mom was
surprisingly calm, the hospital team let her in the room. That calm, Erica
explained, came from God.
"I was a very
spiritual person before this — I always believed in God, but I [wasn’t] much of
a churchgoer, not much of a follow-the-Bible-to-the-book type of person,"
"But I'm a full
believer now … God speaks to me all the time. And it was through this accident
that this voice came to me."
"It was a lot of
just, ‘Stay calm, just stay calm,’" she said. "It has to be a higher
power, a God, a somebody who was just kind of grounding me for what was to
"If it wasn't for
that grounding, I wouldn't have gotten through the last three years of fighting
to get my baby back, because it has been a literal fight every single
Shaylie was moved to
the pediatric ICU (PICU), where she was in the care of Dr. Kris
Deeter, a pediatric intensivist at Renown Children’s Hospital in Reno and the
medical director for Pediatrix Critical Care and Hospitalists of Nevada.
"I could tell
right away that we were dealing with a pretty severe brain injury," Dr.
Deeter told Fox News Digital. "She was completely unresponsive, she had no
reflexes at that time, no motor movement right away … I knew that she was going
to have a hard, long road."
During Shaylie’s first
five days in the hospital, doctors focused on protecting her brain from further
injury, such as swelling or bleeding.
Once her brain was
stabilized, the medical team checked Shaylie’s lungs, kidneys and liver to
ensure they were functioning properly, Deeter said.
Then, doctors moved to
get Shaylie off the ventilator and off sedatives, so she could start to regain
her strength and begin the recovery process.
After two weeks in the
PICU, Shaylie finally opened her eyes. That, for Dr. Deeter, was a turning
point in Shaylie’s care.
"When we started
seeing that little twitch and that little smile come out, we all knew we were good,"
Deeter said. "She's a fighter."
It was also the moment
that Erica Edwards knew her baby girl was going to be OK.
"When you saw her
eyes open, you knew that something was going to come of this young lady,"
Erica said. "She wasn’t going to be in the hospital forever."
"I think it’s
that moment when her eyes opened, and they were so clear that the fire just
started in me," Erica added. "I knew I had to do whatever I could …
to get her back."
After three months in the hospital, Shaylie headed to rehab in
Los Angeles. Weeks later, she returned
home to Reno to complete outpatient care.
"For us to get
released from Renown and go home was scary, but such a relief," Erica
said. "Our family hadn’t been home in three months, so that part was
amazing. But then the rehabilitation started and it was scary."
Shaylie was 4 years
old at the time, but when doctors evaluated her, they determined she was at the
level of a 5-month-old.
lift her head, she couldn't eat, she couldn't walk, she couldn't talk, she
couldn't do anything," Erica said. "That was scary to hear that
For the first
year-and-a-half, Shaylie attended rehab five days a week. When she wasn’t in
therapy, her parents were working with her at home.
Finally, after months
of hard work, Shaylie regained her ability to eat, talk and walk, with the
help of a walker that she used.
"So many steps
were involved in doing that," Erica said of Shaylie’s therapies. "The
list is amazingly huge of all the work her therapists did."
Through it all, Erica
said faith helped her family move forward.
"Faith for me and
my journey has been a number-one priority," said Erica Edwards. "To
recognize that and follow it just makes things a lot easier on the day-to-day,
because this fight is real."
"I’m going to have to continue to fight for her for years," she added. "I don’t know that it’ll ever stop. I hope that there’s a day, but I’m not sure. And my faith is what’s getting me through. It’s a beautiful thing."
Today, Shaylie is
still in speech, occupational and physical therapies, but she continues to
improve. The family is also looking for new and improved intensive therapies to
help Shaylie move forward, said Erica.
"We are willing
to do whatever it takes to get this little girl her life back," she said.
Though it took roughly
over a year for her to start forming words again, Shaylie is now just as chatty
as she was before the accident.
Other things have
are even coming back," Erica Edwards said. "It's pretty amazing to
hear her have memories and be the same sassy, funky, happy little
"All those things
are a huge, huge blessing, a blessing from God," the mom continued.
"There's just something about her that God, the universe, whatever, didn't
want to let go of. And I'm excited to see where this little girl's life takes
off to," she added.
In June, Shaylie
graduated from kindergarten. To celebrate, the Edwards family traveled to
Disneyland. "We had a blast," Erica said.