Former ACHS shot outside of school works to walk again


AURORA -Those outside of Aurora Central High School on that day remember what happened. Others have long forgotten.

Nearly four years have passed since a teenage girl was hit by a stray bullet outside the school. The bullet was intended for a rival gang member.

Karina Vargas hasn’t walked since that day. She was paralyzed from the waist down.

“Since they rolled that X-ray into my hospital room and told me I wasn’t able to walk, I just remember my mom being next to me and telling me, God has a final word in everything and he doesn’t do anything halfway,'” Karina said.

In rehabilitation, Karina doesn’t do anything halfway either. She works until it hurts. Until she can feel those painful and strange spasms in her legs. George Whitten is the clinical director of the Spinal Cord Injury Recovery Project, also known as SCI.

“Those spasms are actually a great thing. It’s going to keep her from atrophying and it’s going to keep up her bone density,” he said.

Karina has faced multiple challenges since the shooting. Her parents did not have legal status in the United States and Karina had limited access to health care. With support from the Chanda Plan Foundation and SCI recovery project, she has been able to strengthen her muscles and prepare for the opportunity to possibly walk again.

In exercise based therapy, Karina is standing, walking on a treadmill and building her core muscles. She is convinced she will walk again.

“Not maybe someday. One day,” she said.

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