A 9-year-old Forest Falls girl who fell 30 to 35 feet next to a steep cataract in Mill Creek Canyon on July 30 has regained consciousness and has started walking, her mother said Wednesday.
When she fell next to Big Falls, Genny Shepler sustained a skull fracture that initially put her into a coma, and her family feared she would never wake up.
Earlier this month, DeAnne Shepler for Genny and her three siblings, who were with Genny when she fell.
Finally around Aug. 9 Genny opened her eyes, and her recovery is continuing slowly by surely, DeAnne Shepler said.
"She is able to move all limbs, has made an attempt to walk and is starting to sign to communicate," DeAnne said. "She makes improvements every day and is working on getting her voice back now as well."
Genny has been transferred from Loma Linda University Medical Center to HealthBridge Children's Hospital in Orange, her mom said. She has overcome a lung infection, she is no longer on a respirator, and the only medication she is taking is a muscle relaxer.
"She is fully awake and alert now," DeAnne said Wednesday Aug. 29 from HealthBridge. "She responds to commands, is vocal but not talking. She started walking with assistance this past Thursday.
"The biggest challenge she still has is with her swallowing, once she gets that under control she will be able to have the feeding tube taken out of her nose and get eating some real food . . .
"She is getting closer to talking too," DeAnne said. "I think her biggest challenges are that she doesn't know when to quit. Even when she is supposed to be resting she is practicing her movements.
"As far as my challenges it's that we are so far away from home now so it's more time our family is seperated," DeAnne said. "We try to skype every night so we can stay connected."
DeAnne has spent most of the last month at Genny's bedside and worrying about her. She says she couldn't have done it without the help of so many neighbors, friends and acquaintances, especially in the close-knit, faith-based community of Forest Falls.
"Please include a thank you to the community for all the love, support and prayers," DeAnne said.
Supporters have set up a Give Forward fund to help the Sheplers defray medical costs and travel expenses. The fund is at www.giveforward.com/forgennysfamily.
is one of the most popular destinations in Mill Creek Canyon. Forest Falls is about 20 miles northeast of downtown Redlands, in a box canyon that provides access to the mountainous San Gorgonio Wilderness.