A 3-year-old Alabama girl was about to be taken off life support when she suddenly made a remarkable recovery.
Lacey Jane Ayers was seriously injured in a car crash on Dec. 9 while returning home from Christmas shopping with her family.
Her mother, father, and newborn brother were also in the car at the time, but they sustained only minor injuries. The child's mother, Shayla, 20, was being treated for stitches at a hospital near the crash, according to the family.
Lacey Jane, however, suffered fractures of her skull and neck, and had to be airlifted to Alabama Children's Hospital, where she was placed on life support.
Her uncle, 32-year-old Daniel Horton, said the family was told that she was not going to survive, and they were just waiting for Shayla to arrive so she could say good-bye before the doctors pulled the plug.
But soon thereafter, Lacey Jane began breathing on her own, and showed signs of movement.
Her condition is still precarious, however, and it remains to be seen whether or not she will have permanent damage, and how long her recovery will take.
They are mostly worried about the damage to her skull and brain, Horton said, but they remain hopeful because she is moving and aware of her surroundings when she is not sedated.
"I visited her Monday and she squeezed my hand," said Horton. "It was hard to look at her in that condition."
He described her as "a real goofy, hipster kid -- very individualistic."
The family has launched a Facebook page to keep family and friends updated on the little girl's progress, and plan to start a GoFundMe to raise money for expenses not covered by insurance.
Lacey Jane's doctor is optimistic. On Dec. 11, she said she was very impressed by her progress.
According to the Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA), traumatic brain injury (TBI) is the leading cause of disability and death in children and adolescents in the United States.
Each year, an average of 62,000 children sustain brain injuries caused by motor vehicle crashes, falls, sports injuries, physical abuse, and other causes. Falls are the leading cause of death among children between the ages of 0 and 4.
For children under 14, TBI annually causes 2,685 deaths, 37,000 hospitalizations, and 435,000 emergency room visits.
Citing a report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the BIAA notes that annually, about 1,300 children in the United States suffer severe or fatal brain trauma as a result of abuse.