Giuliana Mendez is finally home after being injured in car crash

Published: Apr. 14, 2021 at 11:31 PM EDT
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ST. JOSEPH COUNTY, Ind. (WNDU) - Giuliana Mendez, 13, who was seriously injured in a crash on Feb. 5 is finally home.

Mendez spent nearly two months at Riley Children’s Hospital in Indianapolis and Shirley Ryan Ability Lab in Chicago after suffering a spinal injury.

The crash happened on Grant Road near Wilson Manor Drive in South Bend.

Authorities say 32-year-old Stephen Stopczynski died after his eastbound car crossed the center line and hit Giuliana and her family who were traveling the opposite direction.

“I was just sitting in the back seat just praying and praying that I was not going to die or anything,” Mendez said.

Mendez has been beating the odds and says she is determined to walk again one day.

“But luckily I had my mom with me and she gave me a lot of the hope that I have now. She immediately told me that miracles do happen and that I can do whatever I put my mind to, which I’ve heard that my whole life. I’m a dancer,” Mendez said.

Mendez said she is also thankful for her doctors and therapists who have been by her side every step of the way.

“I want to be able to walk back in and say, ‘look at me now,’” Mendez said.

People say Mendez is resilient, a fighter and has a positive attitude.

Thousands of people have been following her journey on social media, inspired by her strength.

“Thinking about my siblings and everything and how my goal is to be able to run around and play with them. I want to be a big sister that they can look up to,” Mendez said.

Her message to Stopczynski’s family:

“Sometimes it’s hard to look back on my crash and be like it was so major that someone passed away. And I really hope that they are doing well and I hope for the best for them,” Mendez said.

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