WARREN COUNTY, Ohio (FOX19) - An 11-year-old Lebanon girl is making huge progress after a brain bleed left her partially paralyzed.
In January, Emma Palmer collapsed while she was at swim practice at the Countryside YMCA in Lebanon.
“It was quite a shock. We had no clue. There was no previous indication that something like this was going to happen,” Andy Palmer, Emma’s father, said. ”Her body wasn’t working right, and that’s when they knew something was wrong."
Doctors told Emma’s family she had suffered a brain bleed, leaving half of her body paralyzed. Andy says what caused it is still unknown.
“They’ve ruled out a tumor," Andy said. "They’ve ruled out a couple other medical possibilities.”
Emma spent weeks in the intensive care unit in a medically induced coma. She has since had multiple brain surgeries, Andy says, with her most recent one being last week.
“A lot of ups and downs, that’s for sure. When it first happened, it was kind of disbelief followed by just wondering if we were going to be planning a funeral," Andy said.
Through it all, Andy says Emma has kept a brave face. Her strength fuels her parents’ fire to embrace the good instead of the bad.
“She has been so strong through all this. Even before she was aware, we could see her just fighting," Andy said.
The Lebanon community has been a source of support for Emma and her family. Emma’s hospital room is overflowing with love. Fellow swimmers have created chants for her.
“[People are] sending me stuff, making posters and praying,” Emma said.
More than $40,000 has been raised for the family through a GoFundMe page, and Andy said 1500 people bought t-shirts to support Emma too.
“Thank you for all of your support,” Emma said.
After months of being separated from her brothers and sisters, Emma, who is now walking and talking, is preparing to head home. She says the first thing she plans to do when she gets there is hug her siblings.
To others who are struggling, Emma has some advice: “Just keep pressing forward.”
If all goes well, Emma will be discharged from the hospital on May 13.
There is a welcome home parade planned for her on May 14.
Anyone who would like to follow Emma’s journey can join the “Emma’s Fight for her Life” Facebook group.