DECATUR, Ga. - After spending a year-and-a-half unable to walk or speak, 16-year-old Andee Poulos is hoping other teenagers with brain injuries will join her on the road to recovery.
At the Shepherd Pathways Center on Clairmont Road, Andee is relearning how to walk and communicate. There is no frustration, no anger, no resentment over the months when she says she was "out of it."
"I'm not really sad because my friends and my family still love me," said Poulos.
The teenager was born with an abnormal cluster of blood vessels resting on her brain. No one knew until the vessels ruptured on January 4th, 2011.
It left Andee curled in a fetal position of hopelessness. Her parents took her to hospitals around the country, searching for the right treatment. They were preparing for the possibility that their daughter might not recover.
Then came last June.
"God touched her," said John Poulos, Andee's father. "Literally, it was that fast. She started talking, and ever since that day she kept improving more and more, faster and faster."
As Andee's determination has grown, so has her heart.
Friends started an organization called "Andee's Army". It has evolved from supporting the Poulos family to helping other teens facing the same struggle.
Now, Andee is getting involved.
This Saturday, she'll be at the second Andee's Army fun run. She will speak, hand out awards, and hit the street. On legs still coming back to life, she will walk as far as she can walk.
It's an inspiration to her classmates at Holy Innocents School.
"That's the attitude that's gotten her through this and the attitude that's gotten her this far," said classmate Savannah Cohen.
It's how Andee Poulos starts over.
"I know I have to work hard to get better, and that motivates me," said Andee.
Andee's family is hoping she can return to high school in the fall, and one day take over as President of Andee's Army.