9-year-old’s miraculous road to recovery

Posted By: Kelsey Murphy


It was a snowy night back in December, 2009.

Two year old Kallie Zitek was in an accident that could have altered her life forever.

"I heard her crying, so I knew she was okay in my mind. It was a few hours later when the doctor came in and told me what we were looking at,” Niki Zitek-Svoboda, Kallie’s Mother, said.

Kallie suffered a traumatic brain injury in the crash.

Her father died on impact, her mother, who was pregnant at the time, had minor injuries.

"I had no idea what our future would be,” Zitek-Svoboda, said.

When everything felt like it was falling apart, Madonna Rehabilitation Hospitals gave Kallie her independence back.

"I would do a lot of stretching and I would do exercising," Kallie, said.

Kallie spent years relearning the basics.

She couldn’t eat, speak the same, or walk.

"My body just couldn’t do it," Kallie, said.

Kallie didn’t give up.

Her mom recalls teaching her how to walk as an infant, but those first steps don’t compare to Kallie’s second set of first steps.

"It was surreal you know. It was said so many times that she may not do these things and so for her to walk to me and out her arms around me and give me a hug it was surreal," Zitek-Svoboda, said.

Nine years later Kallie is defying the odds. Not only can she walk, she dances, plays softball and she even cheers.

Kallie is one of this years goal award recipients at the Madonna Hospitals. Walking across the stage is a unique moment for her and her family, one that was made possible with a lot of help and never giving up hope.