9-year-old hit by truck making milestones in recovery

Photo from Alivia Strong Facebook page

PADUCAH — A 9-year-old girl who was hit by a pickup truck in west Kentuckty months ago is making milestones in rehab, but her recovery is far from over.

Alivia Shoemaker was riding her bicycle in Mayfield on Sept. 17 when the accident happened.

“She stopped for two cars to pass, and then the truck came over the hit out of nowhere. He didn’t see her, and we didn’t see the truck,” said Alivia’s  mom, Jewell Ann Wheeler. “I was just basically crying and yelling for someone to call 911.”

Wheeler called it a “complete accident,” given how hard it was to see with the sun shining. Kentucky State Police said no charges were filed.

Photo from Alivia Strong Facebook page

Wheeler said Alivia initially suffered cracked ribs and head trauma. Alivia was airlifted to Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee. But a few weeks later, on Oct. 5, she suffered a brain bleed. Wheeler said the left side of Alivia’s brain was damaged, and doctors had to remove part of her skull.

“That was something that was not expected,” Wheeler said. “She’s unable to walk and talk. She can’t eat. She can’t swallow, so she’s on a feeding tube at this time. We’re not sure if she can see at this point.”

But Wheeler believes Alivia can still hear, and Facetimes with her sister and grandmother.

In November, Alivia continued her recovery at Frazier Rehab Institute in Louisville, where she has been undergoing speech and physical therapy. The staff has been working with her mouth and trying to get her to swallow, Wheeler said.

Photo from Alivia Strong Facebook page

The family spent Christmas there as well.

“It was different. It wasn’t like most Christmases. But it was good,” said Wheeler. “I was blessed to have her here for Christmas. She got presents, and some of the nurses donated some presents to her.”

During the course of her rehabilitation, Alivia has made some major milestones.

“We tried walking (Thursday). She did kick the ball four times with her left leg, which was amazing,” said Wheeler.

Also on Thursday, Alivia sounded like she was crying out “Mom!” Wheeler said seeing those milestones makes her “happy with tears.”

“I thank God that she pushes through each day like a trooper,” Wheeler said. “She is a strong little girl.”

Photo from Alivia Strong Facebook page

Wheeler hopes Alivia can leave the rehab center by the end of  this month or early February. Russell Morris and the staff at the David Taylor auto dealership in Mayfield will arrange for a van to bring the family home, as well as help the family with other needs.

Even after they return home, Wheeler expects many more therapy sessions and appointments. Anyone who wants to help the family can contact Wheeler at 270-970-7302.

Wheeler said the community has already been very supportive, by sending cards and care packages.

You can follow Alivia’s recovery on her Alivia Strong Facebook page.

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