MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – A stray bullet changed a Twin Cities teenager’s life when it went through her spinal cord. Now, after months spent in two hospitals, Guadalupe Galeno-Hernandez is heading home, though her recovery is far from complete.
“I’m happy, because I’m going home,” she said.
Guadalupe was shot last November in South Minneapolis and is now a quadriplegic with weaknesses in her arms and legs.
Investigators think she was the mistaken target of a gang shooting, and a 17-year-old boy is charged with hurting her.
Her goodbye Friday brought tears from all the friends she has made at Gillette Children’s Hospital in St. Paul, Minn.
“Bye, Lupe,” said Trevor, one of Guadalupe’s fellow patients with whom she made a special bond.
Guadalupe’s nurses also gave her big hugs before she boarded a van for her home, which has recently been made more accessible for her.
Since arriving at Gillette Children’s Hospital four months ago, Guadalupe has made it a long way.
“It’s amazing! She’s made so much progress,” said Kristen Leighton, a therapist who watched the teen recover.
Guadalupe is using her arms more for a lot of different activities, but she’ll need therapy several times a week for many months. She will also need long-term help and will continue using her electric wheelchair.
“I think back to December sixth, the first time I saw her barely getting words out of her. She’s just come so far. So great to work with her,” Leighton said. “You can’t stop her now!”
She and her mother still hope that someday she will walk and dance again.
“Unfortunately, Lupe doesn’t look like she’ll be able to walk. She’s probably going to have that continued weakness she has right now,” said Dr. Mark Gormley, Guadalupe’s Doctor at Gillette Children’s Hospital.
For now, however, Guadalupe and her mother are just savoring the little milestones in her life.