Lynchburg, VA- In August of 2012, Elisha Kahlich, 12, was riding his bike on Oakridge Boulevard when he was hit by a car. Elisha suffered a traumatic brain injury.
Thursday, we sat down with his family.
Elisha has a tough road to recovery. He is now in a wheelchair, does not speak, and uses a feeding tube. But he is actively working with physical therapists. They say the progress he's made is nothing short of a miracle.
Now thanks to a family friend, their rides on the road to recovery are a little easier.
"His smile will light your whole world upHe never quits, never gives up, and he is just a joy to see every day," said Brooke Pettyjohn.
When Pettyjohn met Elisha during a physical therapy internship, a bond was formed. And like Elisha's spirit, it won't easily be broken. Even after her internship ended, Pettyjohn couldn't stay away from Elisha and his family; a family she says she fell in love with.
"When you see this family and you meet this family and this child, you just want to do things for them because they are so good, and are so grateful and so appreciative of everything that's been done for them," said Pettyjohn.
So Pettyjohn set out to do something good for them. And as fate would have it, a family she met in Florida, had the answer: a custom-built, wheelchair accessible van.
"It just was the right place, at the right time, with the right people," she said.
Having the perfect gift, Pettyjohn now needed the perfect surprise delivery. So under the guise of a homemade dessert, she gave Elisha's mom, Robin Foutz, a blessing.
"She hands me this baking pot, and hands it to me with a lid on it," said Foutz.
"They opened the dessert bowl and there were the keys," said Pettyjohn.
"I was having a hard time processing in that moment. I was like 'what, what is this?'" said Foutz.
"And so they went outside and they were floored and overwhelmed and again, it was just fantastic," said Pettyjohn.
"It's amazing how much easier this is, even though I wasn't expecting it. It's crazy just to be able to roll him up into the van without removing him from his wheelchair, and putting him in his seat. I can just strap him inWe're so thankful. So thankful," said Foutz.
The driver that hit Elisha was not charged because police say Elisha popped over a hill and the driver could not have avoided hitting him.
Elisha's mother says he continues to surprise them with the improvements he makes. And she adds their faith in God is what gives them the strength to move forward.