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Family planning homecoming for girl injured by van

October 30, 2003|by BRIAN SHAPPELL

shappell@herald-mail.com

Shania Shockey is coming home to Hagerstown in time for the holidays and her sixth birthday.

Shockey's father said the girl continues to recover at a Baltimore rehabilitation center from injuries she sustained when she was run over by a van last summer.

Bill Heise said his daughter is scheduled to be released from the Kennedy Krieger Institute and brought back to her 50 E. Baltimore St. home on Nov. 20. She will turn 6 years old on Nov. 27, Thanksgiving Day.

"Her birthday plus Thanksgiving, that means a lot," Heise said. "We're tickled and looking forward to it. We're kinda anxious to get her home."

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Shania is undergoing extensive rehabilitation for severe head injuries she suffered on July 21, the day she was struck by a van in her back yard. She has been hospitalized since.

Though Shania can see well enough to walk without assistance, Heise said she is legally blind. Heise also said Shania has been diagnosed with diabetes since the accident.

Heise said his family and employees at the institute continue to be surprised at the success of all other aspects of her recovery.

"They call her the miracle child - That's what she is to me anyway," Heise said. "She's come a long way, and we don't know how far she will come."

Heise said the family is planning a welcome home/birthday party for the week she returns home.

Patty Porter, an education specialist at the Kennedy Krieger Institute, could not be reached for comment Wednesday on Shania's progress at the facility.

Witnesses said the girl was playing with a hula hoop at the rear of the van seconds before the accident. Heise has said he believed his daughter's hula hoop got caught on the van's spare tire rack, and she was pulled under the van because she did not let go.

Hagerstown City Police officers did not charge the driver.

Shania suffered severe injuries to her head and damage to 75 percent of her brain, Heise said. She has not fully regained her vision and suffered a bout of meningitis.

Shania spent about a month at Children's Medical Center in Washington, D.C. For two weeks, she was in an induced coma.

Miriam Bloom, her pediatric doctor at Children's Medical Center said in late August that Shania was making excellent progress and had a good sense of humor considering the ordeal she had been through.

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