Doctors gave Brazyl Ward a 10 percent chance of surviving after the little girl was struck by a hit-and-run driver on Halloween night in 2013.
Two years later, Brazyl and her family are planning to go back to the Spring Valley church where the crash occurred.
“I do feel a little nervous about it, but my baby’s not nervous,” said Brazyl’s mother, Tiffany Ward. “She said she wanted to.”
Brazyl, now 8 years old, was leaving a Halloween party with her family at the church near Kim Elementary School, near the intersection of Tenaya and Peace ways. She was dressed as a pink Power Ranger and heading home to finish her homework.
She was only a few steps into the road when she was hit.
“It didn’t just affect Brazyl,” Ward, 30, said. “It affected the whole family.”
Brazyl spent months in the hospital. She’s still in therapy for a traumatic brain injury, Ward said Thursday night. Though she still struggles with speaking in complete sentences, she’s getting better.
“We had our breaking points, for sure,” Ward said of the girl’s long recovery.
At one point, Ward’s son Brandon Jr., 10, needed therapy for anger issues, because he didn’t understand what was happening to his little sister. But Ward and her husband decided to stay strong and united for the sake of their family, she said.
The Ward family is excited for Halloween this year — Brazyl got a handmade purple and gold Batgirl costume — and they’re all grateful for the community’s prayers and support.
Ward said that’s what led her to write a book about the ordeal.
“From Tragedy to Testimony: A Family’s Fight to Cope” was designed to help families who may find themselves in a similar situation, Ward said. The book can be bought at the University Medical Center gift shop, the Victory Missionary Baptist Church and online at tragedytotestimony.com.
Ward is also working on starting a nonprofit aimed at helping children with traumatic brain injuries, which she called an invisible disability.
“It was kind of hard to find resources,” she said. “I want to be an advocate for that.”
She also doesn’t want to hear about any more kids getting hit on Halloween.
“That is a big, big fear of mine. My goal is to not see any breaking news (about crashes) on Halloween,” Ward said.
Public safety experts say children should always be accompanied by a responsible adult who will take them by the hand and check their candy for them. Children should wear brightly colored costumes and include reflective gear or accessories that light up or glow.
Adults should bring a charged cellphone for emergencies, carry a flashlight and avoid dark alleys, walkways or homes. Kids should use crosswalks and corners to cross safely and never enter a stranger’s home.
Contact Wesley Juhl at firstname.lastname@example.org and 702-383-0391. Find him on Twitter: @WesJuhl