Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Redmond's Chanel Cogan hospitalized for months from 100-foot fall returns home

 by ERIC WILKINSON / KING 5 News story:   Redmond Teen Hospitalized for Months by 100-foot fall returns home.
Posted by King on December 29, 2010 at 6:11 PM

REDMOND, Wash. -- Doctors still don't know if Chanel Cogan will ever lead a normal life.

"They used the word 'if' she wakes up from the coma," says her mother Mimi. "That was a very solemn day." Chanel's is a life that's been filled with "ifs" lately.

Chanel had just graduated from Redmond High School and was camping with friends at Lake Kachess when she slipped on a trail and fell off a 100-foot cliff. Her friend Tanner Aaron watched in horror as she waved to him, and then plummeted out of sight.

"That's the main question is why Chanel? Why did this have to happen to Chanel?" says Tanner.

Chanel suffered a traumatic brain injury, complicated by a stroke that came at the same time. Injuries from tree limbs nearly forced the amputation of her arm, but they ultimately broke her fall and saved her life -- barely. She sat in a coma for six agonizing weeks. Her family and friends never left her side, sometimes defying doctors' orders.  Read More >>

"Even on the days we weren't supposed to touch her or talk to her we were whispering how much we love her and how much we knew she could fight for this," says a tearful Mimi.

Then, a breakthrough. Two months after the accident Chanel was able to sit up and give her parents a hug.
"It just makes your heart melt," says Mimi. "You just feel love and warmth like you've never felt it before."

But there were still so many "ifs." The biggest was if Chanel would ever come home. That if became a reality last week when, two days before Christmas, she walked through the front door, greeted by her dog Bridgit.

"It was a tear-jerker," says her father Patrick. "She's finally home from her camping trip, 5 months later."

For now, Chanel's recovery is measured day by day. Her recovery will take years. But she is surrounded by people who believe she will one day fully recover -- no ifs ands or buts.
"We just have to bond together," says her friend Sarah Weinold. "And through friendship and love we can get through anything."

by Eric Wilkinson,

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