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11-year-old Waukesha parade victim making significant progress following hospital stay

Posted at 6:38 PM, Jan 14, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-16 21:08:30-05

WAUKESHA, Wisc. — Nearly two months after the Waukesha Christmas parade, 11-year-old Jessalyn Torres is speaking for the first time.

Her life changed forever when she was struck in the middle of the five points intersection in Waukesha.

It’s been and continues to be a long road to recovery. Now she’s back at home, laughing and enjoying time with loved ones.

TMJ4 News spent time with Torres and her family on Friday and witnessed some of those precious moments.

Moments that are a lot different these days...

"Not being able to walk, it makes things a whole lot more of a process,” Torres said.

That process is part of what keeps Jessalyn's wheelchair and walker always within arm's reach. She longs to someday get back to what she loves most, dancing.

"Dance was basically my whole life everyday for six years now,” she said.

She was marching with the Waukesha X-Treme dance team when she was struck. She spent 24 days (about three and a half weeks) at Childrens Wisconsin. Most of that time she doesn't remember.

"24 days. It didn't feel like that long. I was asleep for two weeks,” she joked.

Her spirits are high and so are the spirits of her mother Amber who is happy her daughter is home and healthy.

"I can never express enough to show how or to even say how I feel on the inside, just being here with all of my children,” Amber Kohnke said.

Now in their household, there’s recovery, unlimited sleepovers, laughter and of course, the sassy banter Jessalyn is known for.

The family continues to persevere alongside a #WaukeshaStrong community that continues to support them every step of the way.

"It’s very nice and I think that helps me knowing people are thinking about me,” Torres said.

She said she’s taking it all day by day, but her family does expect her to make a full recovery.

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