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A Creative Drive: Kaitlin’s Comeback Story

Totally in shock. Unsure what to expect. Those were the words from Lori, a mom who wasn’t prepared for what would hit her family in July of 2019.

Kaitlin loved her boyfriend and two dogs. She worked as a marketing representative, and as a creative person, Kaitlin ran the company’s website and developed advertising. Ask anyone and they would describe Kaitlin as kind and extroverted—a high achiever who chased big goals.

But Kaitlin’s life took a turn one weekend when she was hit by a car as a pedestrian.

Kaitlin arrived at the hospital in severe trauma, with several broken bones and a brain injury.

“She was a pretty broken person,” recalls Beverly, her Hope Network Case Manager. Kaitlin was quickly admitted to the ICU. Her parents, Lori and Tom, were devastated and desperate for answers. They asked a million questions. But as Kaitlin laid breathing on a ventilator, there were a lot of unknowns.

When Kaitlin arrived at Hope Network Neuro Rehabilitation, she brought along her high-achieving mindset. Kaitlin had plateaued in her previous therapy and was itching for more rigorous activity. She participated in basically every type of therapy —physical and occupational therapy, speech and language pathology, therapeutic recreation, and psychology—for about five hours every day.

Kaitlin’s goal was to walk again. And although the odds were against her, Kaitlin was already showing positive signs, including some movement in her left leg and arm. “One day we were standing at the rail and she said, ‘I’m trying to move my left leg’—and she kicked me!” said Lynn, Kaitlin’s Physical Therapist. “It was fantastic.”

Every new movement was huge—for Kaitlin and for her family. Picking up an arm might feel like nothing for most people. But for Kaitlin, it’s everything. It means she can pet her dogs. It means she can paint, and express that creative side of her that never went away. But her recovery is more than physical.

Kaitlin Horan

Katilin Horn

“We love that she has psychology meetings,” said Lori. “In recovery, it’s not just about physical recovery. It’s about mental recovery. And we’ve seen her go through some real ups and downs.”

Katlin’s dad has made his own strides since the months after the accident—when there were a lot of sleepless nights. “It helps me to be there and see progress,” said Tom. “Just one little glimpse of hope is what brings us forward.”

Kaitlin has since been discharged from Hope Network and moved to a long-term home closer to her family, where she still is still working hard in therapy and is walking with assistance using her walker.

Kaitlin’s ambition is to walk again—without the walker or assistance. It’s a big goal. But if there’s anyone who can reach it, we think it’s her.

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