Lifestyle & Human Interest

Girl, 3, Makes Miraculous Recovery After Being Hit by Car, Renews Mom's Faith: 'I'm A Full Believer Now'


For many people, unexpected trials and tribulations are a test of faith. For one mother, though, it was exactly what she needed to make a leap of faith.

Having a child endure a life-threatening condition is not something any parent ever wants to experience, but that’s what Erica Edwards from Reno, Nevada, had to face three years ago when the unthinkable happened just outside her home.

On the evening of June 6, 2019, Erica’s husband Shannon was taking the couple’s girls — Emma, 7, and Shaylie, 3, — to the park while Erica stayed home to clean up. Shortly after they left, Erica heard a concerning series of sounds and went outside to see what had happened.

“I ran out back, looked over my fence and right in my vision was Shaylie on the road,” she told Fox News.

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A car had hit both Shannon and Shaylie. As he saw the vehicle coming, he lifted his daughter out of the way — but the car hit him, fracturing his face in seven places and sending Shaylie flying 40 feet before she hit the pavement, breaking her jaw, neck, femur and sacrum and leaving her with a severe brain injury.

Shannon has titanium plates in his face and had to undergo a full facial reconstruction.

Shaylie’s recovery was much more uncertain and time-intensive, but somehow, instead of panicking, Erica felt an unparalleled calmness come over her. In the midst of the storm, she said, God came to her.

“It was a lot of just, ‘Stay calm, just stay calm,’” she said. “It has to be a higher power, a God, a somebody who was just kind of grounding me for what was to come.

“If it wasn’t for that grounding, I wouldn’t have gotten through the last three years of fighting to get my baby back, because it has been a literal fight every single day.”

At first, Shaylie showed no promising signs of recovery. She displayed no motor movement, no reflexes and was “completely unresponsive,” according to Pediatric Intensivist Dr. Kris Deeter.

“I could tell right away that we were dealing with a pretty severe brain injury,” she said.

After two weeks of constant care and monitoring, Shaylie opened her eyes.

“When we started seeing that little twitch and that little smile come out, we all knew we were good,” Deeter said. “She’s a fighter.”

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And so the family fought. Through tests, rehab, therapy and lifestyle changes, but even by the time Shaylie was 4 years old, she was functioning at the level of a 5-month-old: She couldn’t eat, walk or talk.

But as the years have passed and Shaylie has put in countless hours of work, she’s regained many of her former functions and has even graduated from kindergarten — something they were never promised.

“Faith for me and my journey has been a number-one priority,” Erica said. “To recognize that and follow it just makes things a lot easier on the day-to-day, because this fight is real.

“I was a very spiritual person before this — I always believed in God, but I [wasn’t] much of a churchgoer, not much of a follow-the-Bible-to-the-book type of person,” she said.

“But I’m a full believer now … God speaks to me all the time. And it was through this accident that this voice came to me.”

“I’m going to have to continue to fight for her for years,” she added. “I don’t know that it’ll ever stop. I hope that there’s a day, but I’m not sure. And my faith is what’s getting me through. It’s a beautiful thing.”

The driver responsible for hitting the family was found guilty of two counts of reckless driving in May. They were charged a $2,000 fine but did not do any jail time.

According to the Reno Gazette Journal, Erica and Shannon both attended the sentencing, to bring some closure for Shannon.

“It was important for us to be there for my husband, who felt a lot of guilt after the accident thinking he could have done something more to stop the car or get Shaylie out of the way,” Erica said.

As Shaylie continues to make slow but steady improvements, Erica has some advice for other parents who find themselves in similar unexpected crises.

“Have faith and believe that there’s a bigger purpose,” Erica said. “Even if it doesn’t end up going positively, believe that there’s a bigger purpose. Because there just is. There’s got to be something.

“You may not know it for years, but there’s got to be something.”

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Amanda holds an MA in Rhetoric and TESOL from Cal Poly Pomona. After teaching composition and logic for several years, she's strayed into writing full-time and especially enjoys animal-related topics.
As of January 2019, Amanda has written over 1,000 stories for The Western Journal but doesn't really know how. Graduating from California State Polytechnic University with a MA in Rhetoric/Composition and TESOL, she wrote her thesis about metacognitive development and the skill transfer between reading and writing in freshman students.
She has a slew of interests that keep her busy, including trying out new recipes, enjoying nature, discussing ridiculous topics, reading, drawing, people watching, developing curriculum, and writing bios. Sometimes she has red hair, sometimes she has brown hair, sometimes she's had teal hair.
With a book on productive communication strategies in the works, Amanda is also writing and illustrating some children's books with her husband, Edward.
Austin, Texas
Languages Spoken
English und ein bißchen Deutsch
Topics of Expertise
Faith, Animals, Cooking