One year later, Weatherford family thanks hospital that saved daughter

One year later, Weatherford family thanks hospital that saved daughter

PARAGOULD, AR (KAIT) - Over the past year, Kinlee Weatherford has been on the road to recovery after she nearly drowned in her bathtub. Region 8 News introduced you to Kinlee earlier this year.

On the one year anniversary of the accident that nearly took her life, we caught up with her and her family as they thanked those who saved Kinlee while also helping complete strangers.

September 4th is a big day for Kinlee Weatherford. It's the third week of school for the GCT second grader but as other students were being dropped off at GCT Elementary Thursday morning, Kinlee wasn't among them.

Instead of heading to school, Kinlee and big sister Carlee, mom, dad, friends and family loaded down the car with food, games and toys to head to the place that made September 4th such a big day for Kinlee.

"As hard as September 4th of 2013 was...September 4th of every other year is always going to be something that we celebrate," Kinlee's dad, Jason Weatherford told Region 8 News.

One year ago, Kinlee had a seizure in the bathtub. She was underwater for several minutes before her dad found her.

Kinlee was flown to Le Bonheur Children's Hospital in Memphis. When the rest of the family arrived, they were met in the lobby by a chaplain.

Kinlee's prognosis was bleak.

"We didn't know what was gonna happen but things weren't looking good," Amy Claire Petro with Le Bonheur said.

"We were walking in not knowing if she was going to be alive," Jason said.

But things got better. Kinlee spent five weeks at Le Bonheur. Her friends, family and therapists by her side as she re-learned the basics.

Now, exactly one year later, it's hard to tell just how bad things were.

We asked Petro, Kinlee's speech therapist, if she thought Kinlee would get to the point she is today.

"I didn't," Petro said. "I guess that's probably why we do what we do."

A bright-eyed miracle, who was able to walk into Le Bonheur with her family on this September 4th.

"It was very ironic when we walked in the doors this morning," Jason said. "The chaplain that met us at the doors a year ago today, the first person we saw when we got to Le Bonheur...was in the lobby."

This September 4, instead of holding them in their time of pain, the chaplain and other Le Bonheur staff was able to embrace them in a moment of joy.

"We will never be able to thank the people here enough for what they've done for Kinlee, but what they did for us while we were here too," Jason said.

"If we were having a bad day, even a small gesture could really help us," mom, Carla said.

So as a thank you, this September 4, instead of Le Bonheur helping the Weatherfords, the Weatherfords helped Le Bonheur.

The food, games and toys they brought with them were collected over the course of two weeks for children and families in the hospital.

The family has already unanimously decided that this is how September 4 will be remembered.

"September 4th is always going to be a day of celebration for us," Jason said.

The Weatherfords will have to make an additional trip to Le Bonheur soon to bring over the supplies that they couldn't fit on their first trip.

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