By Jennifer Mayerle

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – A teenager struck in a crosswalk in November is home after months of physical therapy.

Kaia Bollmann had to relearn everything from sitting up on her own to talking. As WCCO’s Jennifer Mayerle reports, the teen is proud to show how far she’s come.

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With each step, Bollman chooses to move forward.

“I can finally walk. I couldn’t walk before, I can go upstairs, I can go anywhere I want to,” Bollmann said.

The 14-year-old is in month three of recovery with round-the-clock physical, occupational and speech therapy. In November, a car struck her and friend Annie Lamotte in a crosswalk while on their way to choir practice at St. Francis Middle School. Kaia broke her pelvis and suffered a severe brain injury.

“It is hard, but I don’t remember what happened,” Bollmann said.

Her grandma, Barb Kelley, does.

“We did a lot of praying that night, praying she would survive,” Kelley said.

The retired nurse has been by her side daily while Kaia’s parents are at work. She’s encouraged by every milestone from sitting up to standing for the first time.

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“To watch her fight and to watch her push forward, and she gets mad and she gets frustrated, but to see her want to do this – you just want to be there to be able to support her,” Kelley said.

“Over the course of the weeks that she’s been here, that slope has really steepened,” said Dr. Nanette Aldahondo with Gillette Specialty Children’s Healthcare.

Aldahondo said while she has made remarkable strides, this is still the beginning.

“When we see an injury like this it’s easy to forget that there’s still recovery happening. There’s still a lot that the brain has to recover and rewire,” Aldahondo said.

“Everyone has a single goal, to get Kaia to a point in her life where she can function on her own, where she can be independent,” Kelley said.

Kaia is focused on her future.

“Being in pain is horrible, but being a normal person, finally, makes me happy,” Bollmann said.

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Kaia will go back to school in a week. She said she can’t wait to see her friend, Annie, who went back to school in December, and she’s excited to get back to choir. Kaia will continue physical therapy for another year or two.

Jennifer Mayerle