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Waukesha Christmas parade victim Jessalyn Torres making improvements, says family

Posted at 10:19 PM, Nov 29, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-30 11:09:47-05

WAUKESHA, Wis. — The family of Jessalyn Torres says she's showing small signs of improvement, but she's still in critical condition.

Last Sunday, a man drove his SUV into the Waukesha Christmas parade and the vehicle struck 11-year-old Torres. Six people were killed and dozens of others were injured.

Her uncle, Ryan Kohnke, says the most important step in Torres' recovery right now is to get her off a ventilator and breathing on her own.

Then, Kohnke says, doctors will feel more comfortable sedating her more deeply to deal with her serious internal injuries, including a detached kidney, fractured pelvis and liver and lung damage.

“She’s actually taking a lot more breaths now. It’s her exhale we’re really worried about right now," said Kohnke. "We’ve tried to only focus on the positive. We won’t discuss any negative. In the back of my mind, it’s still up in the air. But we just won’t accept it."

Under hospital COVID-19 protocols, he's one of just two people allowed to visit Torres and her mother, Amber Kohnke, at the hospital. Kohnke says family and friends continue to send text and video messages of encouragement to aid in the little girl's recovery.

A GoFundMe was launched last week to help Torres' family with medical bills.

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