AURORA, Colo. (CBS4)– Charlee Shaw says the one thing she is looking forward to after leaving the hospital is going home so she can see her cat. The 6-year-old survived the crash that killed her mother on Christmas Eve.
Charlee left Children’s Hospital Colorado on Wednesday morning surrounded by her brothers, father and family.
“I feel very blessed to be going home. We’re very excited to get us all under one roof again and start moving forward on this journey together,” said Charlee’s dad, Brett.
“I get to go home,” Charlee told CBS4’s Dominic Garcia.
She will make her way back to Steamboat Springs and return to school in what many are calling an amazing recovery.
Charlee and her mother Sancy were traveling on Interstate 70 near Genesee on Christmas Eve when another driver drifted, crossed the median and crashed into their vehicle. Charlee was airlifted to Children’s Hospital with severe head injuries and a broken femur. Sancy did not survive.
Charlee’s family has been very open about their heartache. They hope that when people see it, they’ll think twice about drinking and driving, and put their focus back on their families.
“We can try and turn something that has been so tragic into something that’s a blessing for ourselves as well as a blessing for others. We have an opportunity where we can hopefully bring about change and maybe cause people to reassess their priorities,” said Brett.
He said he’s happy she can leave the hospital and believes that once they return home, Charlee will continue to improve.
“Her recovery and my recovery in a sense have been on a parallel path. As she would continue to make strides it would motivate me and I would make strides and it would make things a little bit better for me. We’re going to continue to lift each other up and motivate each other to get through this,” Brett told CBS4’s Dominic Garcia.
“We’re just over the moon happy to go home,” he said. “I’m really looking forward to seeing how she progresses being in her home, being around her brothers and her friends and being back in school.”
Colorado State police identified the driver who hit them as Cheri Goodard, 62, who also died in the crash. Troopers suspect that Goodard may have been under the influence of marijuana and alcohol.
Charlee’s story has reached tens of thousands of people, and her family hopes it can continue to inspire others. It’s why they’ve made the Facebook page Live Like Sancy, Fight Like Charlee. On it, not only are they sharing their story, but want others to share their stories.
Brett says it’s a platform where they can share positive stories and help the fight against addiction.
“We are going to continue to lift each other up and get through this together.”
The community in and near Steamboat Springs welcomed the Shaw family back with open arms and lots of love. Some stood on a bridge over Interstate 70 near the crash scene and waved and cheered for Charlee as she passed below them on her way home.
Neighbors and businesses also welcomed them with homemade signs.
“It definitely brought tears to my eyes. It was really cool to see all the people all the community people down there people down here,” said Alisha Kurtz, a family friend.