CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - An accident on the water has been life-changing for a quiet and determined 14-year-old girl and her family.
McKenna Woodhead was paralyzed in a Lake Wylie jet ski crash two weeks ago. Her family is overwhelmed by community support.
"It's comforting to know you're not alone and that you have people there and praying for you," mom Michelle Woodhead says.
Stop signs, store windows, mailboxes in the community – marked "#McKennaStrong." It is all there to remind the 14-year-old, paralyzed from the chest down, that she is loved.
"I don't want to ever go back to that day," Michelle Woodhead says. "It's a hard day."
June 25. Mom Michelle can hardly talk about it.
Her daughter, on a jet ski with friend Regan, crashed into a retaining wall. Rescue crews say Regan saved unconscious McKenna by swimming her to shore, keeping her head out of water.
"We love [Regan] dearly for it because McKenna wouldn't be here without her. But it's nothing that a mom really wants to go through," Michelle Woodhead says.
McKenna, who was concussed, lost a lot of memory, she says. In the beginning, her family had to repeat to her, her new reality.
"You know, 'I can't feel my legs, I'm never going to play soccer again, this is the only thing I worked for,'" her mom remembers.
The teen athlete played for the Carolina Rapids soccer team and has received support from soccer stars statewide. She is working to get stronger, surrounded by messages and sunflowers – her favorite - sent from all over.
"Thank you for all your support and I appreciate all your prayers," McKenna says.
Friends have set up a GoFundMe that has exceeded expectations. The family will be at the Levine hospital for the next few weeks.