When Italia McAllister lost her foot in a freak lawnmower accident in May, her family never expected she'd be well enough to attend her kindergarten graduation. But just about a month later -- with a smile on her face, cap on her head and a heart drawn on her bandages -- the 5-year-old accepted her diploma.
"We were given until the end of July originally and had a plan to FaceTime her in," Robyn McAllister, Italia's mom, told CBS News.
On May 8, Italia was playing in her backyard in Elkhart, Indiana, with her brother when she got too close to a riding lawnmower, CBS affiliate WTTV reports. When the lawnmower backed up, she was knocked to the ground and her foot got caught in the blades. Her dad heard her scream and knew it was bad.
"(I) just ran up to her and seen what happened, couldn't believe it," Cody McAllister told WTTV after the accident.
Italia was immediately flown to Riley Hospital in Indianapolis for treatment. Doctors did what they could, but her foot couldn't be saved and was amputated. A GoFundMe page for Italia has collected more than $15,000 in donations for her medical expenses.
After three surgeries, she returned home on May 25. And on June 6, with the help of a walker and her dad, she proudly marched with her class during their graduation ceremony
The 5-year-old will have more surgeries as she grows and is still in therapy, but Robyn McAllister told CBS News it's "amazing" her daughter has overcome so much in a short time. Italia's now dressing herself, getting on and off the couch by herself, and unwrapping her own bandages, her mom says.
The McAllister family wants to warn others about the dangers lawnmowers can pose, and they're urging parents to keep their kids inside when they're cutting the grass. The family has also started a Change.Org petition calling for safety devices on mowers; as of June 7, the petition has over 200 supporters.