Girl returns to school after rare brain disease

By Christy Hendricks - email

PORTAGEVILLE, MO (KFVS) - A special little girl gets a big homecoming after a serious illness took her out of school for nine months.
What started out as a case of pneumonia escalated into a rare brain disease that caused a 11-year-old Lindy Klipfel to battle for her life.
But now, she's recovered enought to go back to school and was welcomed back to school for the first time in nine months.
"What?!" Lindy exclaimed when she saw our camera as she climbed out of the SUV.
She wasn't expecting this kind of welcome on her first day back to 6th grade.
She was greeted by the Portageville Middle School cheerleaders, "Hey Lindy you're so cool.  We're so glad you're back at school.  Go Lindy! Go, Go, Go Lindy!"
As she walked through the doors of the middle school she's greeted with nearly 200 smiling, cheering faces.
"I didn't think it was going to happen," she said.  "i was like Whoa!"  
"Big surprise?" we asked? "Yes!"
It's been a long road for Lindy after she came down with pnuemonia in December, but it turned into a rare disease calle Acute Disseminated Encephalomyelitis.
"It actually ate the millenium sheath on the brain, ate parts of that and that's what, my understanding is, what cause the problems with her left side," said Lindy's mom, Cathy Klipfel. 
She spent months in and out of the hospital.
"She was there for eight weeks and she came home for a few days and then had to go back again for another three weeks and then we came home for another few days and went back for another week and then we were able to come home and stay," Cathy said. 
Lindy has had to relearn how to walk, use her left hand and just had surgery on her skull three weeks ago.
"it's difficult," Cathy said.  "It's just power of prayer and faith and just keep going.  Do what you gotta do.  She's wonderful.  She had the absolute best attitude, the best spirits."
Just looking down the hall at the middle school, it's apparant how much Lindy was missed by her peers and teachers. You can see students and her school counselor worked hard to make posters to welcome Lindy back.
"The kids did miss her," said Judy Scherer, Portageville Middle School couselor. 
"I'm glad she's back," said Macey Crafton, Lindy's friend. 
"It's good," said Kacie Ellis, Lindy's friend.  "I don't want her to get hit or nothing. We're going to try our best."
So armed with her two bodyguards and best friends, Lindy strode off to class.
School officials say she's an inspiration to others.
"I think they can see that everything she's gone through for nine months and you can still survive," said Scherer.  "You can still survive things and come out stronger and like I said still smiling."
Lindy still goes to therapy for her left arm and leg.  She's says she's ready to back to normal life with her friends.  She wants to be an interior designer when she grows up.

©2009 KFVS. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.