(KMSP) - A spring break vacation in California turned into a nightmare for a Minnesota family after a crash with a semi left a young girl with a potentially life-altering brain injury.
Six-year-old Kaliyah Herron is now out of the intensive care unit and her family is praying for a miracle.
"As of today, she is breathing on her own right now,” said Miryah Herron, Kaliyah’s mother. “We just took the oxygen drops five minutes ago and she is waking up."
Miryah’s precious little girl, Kaliyah, is making some giant strides in her California hospital room.
"We're working on getting this feeding tube out that everyone sees in her nose,” said Miryah. “We're working on applesauce day-by-day."
Miryah had taken her two daughters out west last month for spring break.
They were driving to Hollywood, so six-year old Kaliyah could record a song in a studio when the crash happened.
Somehow Miryah and her older daughter survived with only minor injuries, but poor Kaliyah suffered potentially life-altering brain damage.
Nearly three weeks later, Fox 9 witnessed the girl waving for the first time via Skype.
"I knew I had a little fighter,” said Miryah. “I had a good idea she'd pull through as much as possible."
On the other end of the video call Wednesday, Miryah’s friends back in Minnesota showed their support while wearing their Kaliyah Strong t-shirts.
"She is such a spunky and caring, a sweet little girl,” said Macy Henrichs, a family friend. “For her just laying there, it's heartbreaking. I just can't believe this is happening to one of my closest friends."
"She's thousands of miles away and there's nothing any of us can do except come together here and try to help her the best we can,” said Jill Vierzba, a family friend.
The love has poured in. A GoFundMe page has topped $11,000 already and Kaliyah’s classmates at her Brainerd Elementary School have flooded the hospital with get well cards and posters. They're also selling bracelets to raise money for her ongoing medical expenses.
"It's amazing all the people who are praying all over the world for her and I believe all the prayer is making her better every day,” said Miryah.
Family friends are also organizing a spaghetti dinner and silent auction fundraiser on Saturday, May 27 at 4:00 p.m. at Moose Lodge in Waite Park.