Andee has little memory of the 20 months that followed. She couldn’t talk. She couldn’t do much. Recovery was far too slow.
They call it her “away” period.
“You’re trying so hard to help her, and she throws everything, and you’re back to Square One, and it’s like, ‘Oh my gosh … how are we going to live like this for the next 50 years,’” John Poulos said. “All of a sudden, we were at the end of the rope -- she started talking. That quick. Right where we’re sitting.”
Once Andee started talking, she started remembering. That led to Andee doing more.
Within a year she could swing a bat.
Within two years, she could take steps and go back to school.
“It was a really big change for me and just really hard to deal with at the beginning,” Andee said.
The hardest part?
“Probably not being with my friends and the people I was with for almost 10 years at school,” she said. “And seeing them graduate when I was a sophomore, that was really hard.”
Andee pushed on. Those around her stepped up. Her family turned community donations into a non-profit called Andee’s Army, focused on helping young adults face similar journeys.
Andee’s classmates gave her new memories, including a promposal.
“One day we came home from a baseball game, one of the players came over with his mom and brought the poster and the teddy bear, and it was really cool,” she said.
But for graduation, Andee planned to create the memory.
“I was planning on walking without my cane across the stage, and I think that’ll be really good for everyone to see,” she said. “That’s what can happen when you don’t stop, when you don’t quit believing."