A skiing accident left 13-year-old Olivia Benedetto paralyzed from the waist down, but as finally leaves the hospital to head home, she's not ready to give up.
- Well, the teenager's heading home for Memorial Day weekend after spending more than two months in the hospital. A skiing accident left 13-year-old Olivia Benedetto paralyzed from the waist down, and for months she has been through intense rehabilitation to regain her strength and learn to live with her new condition, and now she is heading home. Eyewitness News reporter Marcus Solis has her story.
MARCUS SOLIS: It was an emotional goodbye, but 13-year-old Olivia Benedetto is finally headed home to Breezy Point, an important milestone in a most unexpected journey. Olivia is a budding gymnast who taught herself most of these flips, but in February she suffered a spinal cord injury while skiing in Pennsylvania. After undergoing surgery, she was transferred to Blytheville Children's Hospital in Valhalla.
OLIVIA BENEDETTO: I feel like I had a choice whether to be positive or to just give up right away.
MARCUS SOLIS: And so she amazed doctors and therapists with that positive attitude during two months of intense rehabilitation, strengthening her core and improving her balance.
OLIVIA BENEDETTO: I'm still not fully there yet, but to do stuff without balance, to even sit up was really hard for me.
MARCUS SOLIS: Olivia is an athlete, something that helped her take on this new challenge both mentally and physically.
KATHY SILVERMAN: She has a winning attitude. Her level of positivity really helped her through this. It's helped her through it, and she's been an inspiration to our patients here.
MARCUS SOLIS: Indeed, Olivia made close friends in a short time, which doesn't surprise her mother.
COLLEEN BENEDETTO: It's innate. God made her that way. For as long as I can remember since she was a baby, that's how she is.
MARCUS SOLIS: Olivia will continue outpatient rehab closer to home, and no she doesn't see gymnastics as a thing of the past.
OLIVIA BENEDETTO: I'm still looking forward to doing that, so if I push through this, then I'll be able to do anything I want to.
COLLEEN BENEDETTO: Although the doctor's prognosis is she won't recover much more, we don't believe that. We're waiting for science to catch up to faith.
MARCUS SOLIS: In Valhalla, Marcus Solis, Channel 7 Eyewitness News.