STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — It’s been a month filled with setbacks, regular therapy sessions and too many days away from her brothers and dad, but through it all, 6-year-old Charlee Shaw continues to prove she’s a fighter and that miracles are possible.
“This definitely threw us a curve ball, but she continues to be the same tenacious, little 6-year-old warrior that we have grown to appreciate,” Charlee’s father Brett Shaw said. “It’s been amazing. She has worked really, really hard. She can get frustrated, but in general, she is still very happy and pleasant and very much wants to get home.”
On March 13, Charlee underwent surgery to place a flap over a section of her skull. Doctors were forced to remove that section of her skull after Charlee was rushed to Children’s Hospital in Aurora with life-threatening head injuries she suffered in a car crash on I-70 near Genesee on Dec. 24, 2018, that killed Charlee’s mom, 38-year-old Sancy Shaw.
Charlee spent nearly two months in the hospital recovering and then returned home to the Yampa Valley on Feb. 20. She was greeted by large crowds of people who lined the streets between Steamboat Springs and Shaw home in Clark to show their support for the family, which also includes Charlee’s three brothers Jaxon, 9, Mason, 11, and Wyatt, 13.
In early March, Charlee returned to Denver for the surgery to replace the skull flap, but shortly after the surgery, doctors noticed things were not right. They rushed Charlee back into surgery to address a blood clot and bleeding on the brain.
“The original injury was a global injury. When she had the blood clot and the bleeding on the brain, it was specifically in the exact area that has to do with speech,” Brett said. “We knew there was going to be some regression; we just didn’t know how much. She’s progressing. They consider her an outpatient from a physical standpoint, but from a speech standpoint, she still needs therapy.”
Charlee is currently undergoing three speech therapy sessions, two physical therapy sessions and two occupational therapy sessions a day.
Brett is hopeful his daughter will come home later this month.
“She can walk just fine. She can climb in and out of bed, and she can crawl down on the floor and pick something up and stand back up again,” Brett said. “Her speech is coming back, but it’s going to take a little while. She can communicate with us, but she’s just not speaking fluently yet … basically it’s a matter of her ability to speak to relay information through audible word and then her ability to take in information and process it.”
Brett said despite Charlee’s latest stay at Children’s, the family is remaining positive.
“Her therapy is at a super high level and very intensive,” Brett said.
When she does come home, Charlee will receive pediatric therapy at UCHealth Yampa Valley Medical Center in Steamboat, she will meet with a therapist at school a couple of days a week, and the family is looking into having an outside therapist come to the home to work with Charlee.
“We are going to provide everything we possibly can to help her to recover from this,” Brett said.
Through it all, Brett said his daughter continues to remain positive and has shown a willingness to do whatever the therapist, nurses and doctors ask of her.
But Brett knows the time in the hospital is difficult on his daughter.
“Sometimes, when we FaceTime together or I do Marco Polo (a video chat application) with her, she will start to cry,” Brett said. “It’s just a matter of her missing being home and seeing her brothers and being in her own bed.”
It’s also been difficult on Brett who has been forced to balance his time between being in Clark with his three boys or staying at Children’s Hospital with Charlee.
“We have always been a tight-knit family in general, and this situation has allowed that to shine,” Brett said. “We have such a strong support crew and support network … and it’s been wonderful. ”
Brett plans to take the boys to visit Charlee this weekend. He is hoping she will be allowed to join the family on a trip to the Denver Aquarium for a few hours.
Brett is planning on taking a road trip around Colorado with Jaxon, Mason and Wyatt soon, and he said it makes him sad that Charlee can’t yet make the trip. He continues to pray for the day he will be at home in Clark with all four children under the same roof.