FARMINGTON, Minn. (WCCO) — Last fall, a driver hit 22-year-old Bekka Peterson and a friend as they got out of a taxi on Grand Avenue, not far from the University of St. Thomas.

When Bekka’s parents arrived at the hospital, the sight of their daughter was overwhelming.

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“They told us to prepare for her to most likely be in a vegetative state, to decide how long to leave her in that state, what was best for her and the family,” said Bekka’s mother, Susan. “As we were standing there, [Bekka’s dad] passed out. So I’m standing watching him go down, looking at her and telling him he needs to get up because I’m not going through this alone.”

Bekka suffered several broken bones, eye damage and a serious brain injury.

Doctors didn’t think she’d make it, but after nearly a month in a coma, she woke up.

Susan remembers hearing Bekka ask for her dad for the first time.

“And I just cried with my back to her knowing that somewhere, beneath all this, is our Bekka,” she said.

Bekka has had three surgeries so far and doctors replaced part of her skull last week. Instead of getting ready to graduate, she has speech therapy three times a week.

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But there’s no shortage of friends stopping by.

“It’s great,” Bekka said. “A bunch of people just like here like every time. So, It’s good.”

It’s also good knowing how far she’s come in such a short amount of time, though the future is still uncertain.

“It’s a sea full of unknowns,” Susan said. “So yes, we celebrate the little achievements here and there, but we’re still hoping for the really big one.”

Bekka hopes to return to St. Thomas next year. Her friend Nick, who was also hit, is recovering as well.

A woman arrested in this case last fall was never charged.

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A benefit is planned to help pay for Bekka’s medical expenses. It’s next Saturday at Carbone’s Pizzeria in Farmington at 4 p.m.

John Lauritsen