ORANGE (CBSLA.com) — Teresa Johnston, the young girl who was seriously injured when a large tree fell on her in February, left the hospital Friday.
She was walking smiling, hugging people and talking.
"Hello and thank you for everything," she said.
But as KCAL9's Craig Herrera reports, it's been a long journey to get to this point.
"Those first couple of weeks, we were saying goodbye," said her father Roch.
A 60-foot tree fell on her while she was walking a neighbors dog in Irvine during a storm.
"They told us she was on a tight rope and she could go either way," her father added.
Teresa had multiple fractures to her face and head.
Doctors used ten metal plates to reconstruct her skull.
The family celebrated her 14th birthday in her hospital room.
Soon after the surprise came -- Teresa made eye contact with her sister... and she started moving her fingers and toes.
"I can't put it in words how grateful we are for all the prayers and support,"Roch said.
Teresa spent 22 days in CCU at Orange County Global in Santa Ana, and the last four weeks at Healthbridge Children's Hospital with help and support from her best friend.
"When I saw her in the beginning like, I I was really, really scared and I didn't know what was going to happen I didn't know if she was going to ever recover completely," says Marie Marchand.
Known as the "sunshine" of her block, Teresa's neighborhood friends and church youth group signed a welcome home banner and held balloons outside the hospital.
"All the neighbors love her she's amazing," says Marchand.
Teresa needs three more surgeries and hours of rehabilitation.
And she'll have lots of support.
"I think I'll be visiting her house like all the time," said Marchand with a laugh, "every day. So I will see her a lot"
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