Paralyzed Greenville teen, USC student talks about recovery - FOX Carolina 21

USC student from Greenville paralyzed in shooting talks about recovery

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Martha Childress talks with FOX Carolina's Diana Watson about her recovery. (Dec. 10, 2013/FOX Carolina) Martha Childress talks with FOX Carolina's Diana Watson about her recovery. (Dec. 10, 2013/FOX Carolina)
ATLANTA (FOX Carolina) -

A Greenville teen who was shot and left paralyzed in Columbia is talking about what happened and the progress she has made during her recovery.

Martha Childress has been at the Shepherd Center, a rehabilitation center in Atlanta, for about two months after she was nearly killed by a stray bullet in the Five Points area of Columbia near the University of South Carolina.

"I was just standing for a cab with my friend, and we were waiting in line, and I heard a really loud, just a bang," Childress said. "I was shot, and I just fell to the ground."

Childress said she couldn't feel her legs. She said the bullet went in, pierced her lung, went through her kidney, liver and landed in the back of her spine.

Within hours, her prognosis was clear.

"I remember waking up in the hospital and being told by the doctor I was paralyzed," Childress said.

After several days in the hospital, Childress moved to Atlanta to begin her occupational and recreational therapy, and to get adjusted to her new life in a wheelchair, though she said the progress has not been easy.

"I have good days where I'm happy and try to stay positive, and I have bad days, thinking why did this happen to me? What did I do to deserve this?" Childress said.

She is working on gaining strength and learning to work with the wheelchair at the center.

"Just being able to transfer to my bed or anything by myself without using any type of board or anything, that just makes me so proud of myself when I do that," she said.

Childress's so thankful for the support she's getting. She said she's overwhelmed by the fundraisers that have raised close to $30,000.

"To know people are coming together to do something for you is one of the most humbling experiences," she said.

She said she plans to return to USC in the fall and is ready to get back to class.

"I really want to graduate with my class, and that's my biggest goal right now, to catch up," Childress said.

But first, she will return home in time for Christmas.

"It's all I wanted to do is go home with my family and friends for Christmas," she said. "I'm really happy."

Since the shooting, there have been efforts to make Columbia's Five Points safer. Childress admitted, it's a lot of pressure to feel like she's the face of change in the city, but she wants to help in any way she can.

The man accused of shooting her, 21-year-old Michael Smith, remains in jail on assault and battery and weapons charges. Investigators said his intended target was someone else when Childress was hit.

Copyright 2013 FOX Carolina (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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