Mackenzie Gorden stands with the help of a Craig Hospital physical therapist. Kenzie works for hours each day to regain control of her body.
Mackenzie Gorden stands with the help of a Craig Hospital physical therapist. Kenzie works for hours each day to regain control of her body.
Monday, August 6, 2012

It was Friday night when Mackenzie Gorden woke from a nap and her knee felt strange.

It jumped beneath her hospital bedsheet.

What is the deal? Did I do that? she thought. Why does it feel so funny?

The muscles in her legs — which were paralyzed in a pickup truck crash two months ago near Lake City — sometimes shake and jerk on their own. Since the crash, Kenzie, 18, a high school senior and captain of the cheerleaders, had mostly abandoned the idea that she’d walk again.

More than anything, she wanted one of her hands to heal. She wants to be able to brush her own teeth again.

Kenzie called for her mother Karen to come watch. There in Kenzie’s room at Craig Hospital in Englewood, Colo., where Kenzie works hours each day to regain control of her body, her left knee bent. Farther and farther as the night went on.

Kenzie cried.

At the hospital are people whose injuries have left them far less capable. They steer wheelchairs with their chins or mouths.

Two days before, Kenzie told the Daily Times Herald that she was lucky and thankful that she could move her arms.

But now there’s so much more. Now she can lift her toes, and her right leg has begun to move, too.

Kenzie will meet with her doctors today to discuss what all of this means. Bending her knee is not the same as walking. She knows her journey will be long.

Kenzie called her dad Steve in Lake City. He’s been working to build another bedroom and bathroom in their house that Kenzie can maneuver with a wheelchair.

He watched an Internet video of her legs.

He saw her knee bend.

He cried.