5-year-old girl shot in bounce house graduates from rehab program

By: Lori Wilson

Updated:

SOUTH FULTON COUNTY, Ga. - Friday marked a big day for a 5-year-old girl who was shot while playing inside a bounce house in April.

Abriya Ellison graduated from her rehab program at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.

The graduation comes just in time for Abriya to start school on Monday.

The program was intensive, and therapists say Abriya completed her rehab with an attitude that inspired them.

“I knew that was going to happen,” Abriya joked as her cap fell off.


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Even before she begins kindergarten, she is celebrating a graduation.

“She is spunky,” said physical therapist Caitlin Jones. “She is a bundle of energy. There is never a slow moment with her.”

Jones has been working with Abriya since was shot while at a birthday party in South Fulton County in April.

A 3-year-old who was also shot had minor injuries. Abriya’s injuries were more serious and required surgeries and intense therapy.

“She is probably the most determined little girl that I’ve ever met and I’ve ever worked with,” Jones said.

Abriya has worked hard: six hours a day, five days a week, for the last three months she has been in rehab.

At first she just wanted to get home, but now the little girl has even bigger goals -- to walk again.

“You can’t see it, but you can tell that she’s actually trying,” said Andreauna Douglas, Abriya’s mother. “She’s trying (to stand), she’ll be like, grrrrrr, so she’s trying.”

Abriya flips with super strength. She was once planning for a trip to the Olympics, and is now planning for the Paralympics. First she will have to learn how to maneuver at school

“I have no doubt after seeing her here that she’s going to do that successfully,” Jones said. “Anything that was hard she said, 'I’ll do it and I’ll try harder. I’ll do it!' So that was pretty cool getting to work with her and experience her determination, it’s something I look up to.”

Abriya and her family are still adjusting to their new normal and they still need help to have their bathroom converted into one that is handicap accessible.

A GoFundMe page has been set up if you would like to help.

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