ALERT: Police searching for missing college student

HOLMBERG: Meeting Surfer Girl Katie

Perhaps you’ve heard the story of Katie Ralcewicz, a 29-year-old lover of friends, family, nature, photography, of life.

But it’s really a story about family, faith and prayers. And it begins on a cloudy day in Chesterfield, January 19, 2011. Katie, then 27, was taking photos of the sky when she slipped off the porch steps at her parent’s house and hit her head.

She suffered a brain injury, then strokes. There was surgery, MRSA, heartbreaking setbacks. Doctors gave them little hope.

But Joe and Cathy Ralcewicz are people have faith. They’ve never lost it as they’ve fought and helped and prayed and believed for their daughter.

Neighbors and friends in her Chesterfield subdivision joined them. They put up “Please pray for Katie” signs – dozens and dozens of them, spreading far and wide like a tsunami of love.

Thousands of people kept up with Katie’s fight for life on her mother’s Caring Bridge site: http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/cathyralcewicz

I visited with Joe and Cathy in May of 2011, when Katie was still in the hospital, fighting for her life.

It would be a snowy February day in 2012 when Katie finally came home. Her journey is really still in the early stages.

They family recently invited me to come visit, and to meet Katie.

I got to see her smile, drive her motorized wheelchair a bit and answer questions with her clicker. She can stand a bit now. She has a new communications board that she’ll be learning to use.

And so she goes, the tiniest steps – a smile a little wider, a little more hand control, stand a little longer, eat a little better.

Katie’s perfectly aware of what’s going on around her, she just can’t share much about it.

She says she’s happy.  She knows she’s loved. She has faith.

She is grateful for her family, for all of the prayers – those that have been sent and any others that may come her way.

The biggest smile she gave me – with even a tiny laugh – was when we prayed together, her hand closing around mine.

That is the story of Katie.

You can watch it here.

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