GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Abigail Kopf, the teen who was shot in the head during the one of the worst nights of violence West Michigan has ever seen, continues to make strides toward a full recovery.
Video provided to Media General contributors by her family shows the 14-year-old taking a stroll through the halls of May Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital in Grand Rapids. In it, she moves steadily, waves to the camera and says, “Hi.”
“She’s doing great,” her mother, Vickie Kopf, told 24 Hour News 8 on Monday. “Abbie is an amazing kid. I mean, to go from what she’s been through — to be shot in the head and for us to be told she’s not going to make it, for us pretty much to say our goodbyes on that very first night — to see where she’s at today is amazing.”
Only about six weeks ago, on the night of Feb. 20, doctors called her time of death after Abbie was shot in the head.
But incredibly, she lived.
“I see a cemetery or I see a funeral or a funeral home and all I can do is think to myself — I hate to be selfish — but I’m so glad she’s not there,” Kopf said. “I’m glad she’s got the will power to fight that she did. I know she’s wanted to give up a couple times, especially with the eating.”
Abbie is still on a feeding tube at night, but is now able to eat soft foods. She even went out to eat recently for the first time since the shooting.
She has daily rehab from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. She had to relearn almost everything — how to walk, talk and move her neck, arms and hands. In the past few weeks, she has progressed from using a wheelchair to walking down the hall.
“I think if she keeps going the way that she is right now, she’ll be fine,” Kopf said.
Her parents were previously concerned about her short-term memory because she kept forgetting things, but said on Monday that it is improving.
“There is some concern there, but I wouldn’t say it’s a whole lot,” Kopf said.
Abbie still has to wear a helmet to protect her head, which is missing part of her skull that was shattered from the bullet. Thanks to the K-Wings hockey team, she has a custom helmet, like the players who hand-delivered it.
She has served as a beacon of hope for the Kalamazoo community in the wake of the shooting spree, which left six people dead and wounded Abbie and 26-year-old Tiana Carruthers.
Support has flooded in from all over the world. Shipments of cards, blankets and books arrive daily, filling boxes so heavy that they had to be moved with a cart.
“She loves the cards,” Kopf said. “When she gets them, she smiles. She always wants me to read them to her and there’s times when she just sits there and looks at them.”
Abbie even received a note and gift from movie star Robert Redford— a copy of the book about wolves for which he wrote a forward.
“It was kind of cool. It was pretty neat,” Kopf said.
“Humanity, although it has its dark elements as it shows, most of the time it’s good,” Abbie’s father, Gene Kopf, said.
Like the backs of the “Team Abbie” T-shirts the family wears say, “Love is stronger than fear and anger.”
Doctors hope that Abbie will be able to go home next month. She will still need rehab five days a week and her family’s home will have to be remodeled before she returns to be safe for her. There is a GoFundMe page to help pay for that and other recovery costs.
Also Monday, Abbie’s family launched a new Facebook page that they will update with pictures and videos of her recovery.