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‘She’s the example for us:’ Oak Creek teen inspires after brain injury when she was hit by car

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Lily Putnam

OAK CREEK -- For the first time, we heard on Tuesday, April 16 from the family of an Oak Creek High School student nearly killed after being hit by a car driven by a school staff member.

Lily Putnam was severely injured on her way to school in September 2018. She and a friend were hit by a driver as they were walking across Puetz Road. The impact from the crash caused a traumatic brain injury -- and changed Putnam's life forever.

Students struck by vehicle outside Oak Creek High School

Senior pictures of Putnam show a vibrant teen the summer before her final year of high school.

"When we had these pictures taken, it was all about the promise of the future," said Jesse Putnam, Lily's father.

Lily Putnam

Putnam told FOX6 News his daughter planned to attend the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, with the goal of majoring in special education.

"It was always passion of hers to help and to work with those who didn't have what she had," Jesse Putnam said.

Students struck by vehicle outside Oak Creek High School

That promising future was knocked off course by the September crash.

"The impact from the accident and her impact, hitting the ground, severely damaged her brain stem and other parts of her brain," Jesse Putnam said.

Lily Putnam spent months in the hospital and in physical therapy.

"At first, she was given a prognosis of not being able to do to anything on her own," Jesse Putnam said.

It was a prognosis Lily Putnam bravely battled.

"She's completely free of any sort of assistance needed for breathing. She is alert at all times," Putnam said.

Lily Putnam

Each day brings new triumphs and challenges for Lily Putnam and her family.

Jesse Putnam

"We're currently using a Chevy Equinox," Putnam said.

They're raising money for a wheelchair accessible van. A GoFundMe account reached more than $26,000as of Tuesday.

"So we don't have to lift her out of the wheelchair. We can just wheel her in on the ramp -- so it is less stress on her," Putnam said.

Lily Putnam is a young woman who has overcome so much -- with a fight that has inspired.

"As a parent, you always want your child to look up to you. You want to be a good example for them. The roles are reversed. She's the example for us," Putnam said.

After talking with the family, FOX6 News decided not to show Lily Putnam in her current condition out of respect to her and her loved ones. The Putnam family wanted you to know they are forever grateful for the support they have received from the community.

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