An Auckland woman who has been using a wheelchair after a serious car accident has today had the best early Christmas present both her and her family could ask for - the gift of walking.
A qualified personal trainer, Chloe Hogan has taken her first unassisted steps since the crash eight years ago. They're her first steps since her family was told she'd never fully recover and would never walk again.
This year alone Ms Hogan has made an immense amount of progress. Her father Brian says he suspected she was close to walking.
“It’s the mountaintop that we've been looking for,” said Mr Hogan.
"You'll have to walk into that doctor who said you'd never do it, on high heeled shoes."
The crash happened on the morning of her 22nd birthday, on Ms Hogan’s way to work as a personal trainer.
"I was going to take the 6am run. I don't really remember anything else,” said Ms Hogan.
"Special crash investigation said something came and I swerved for some reason - they don't know why."
Just over an hour later her father was notified by a knock on the door from two policemen.
“They told me Chloe had been in a very serious car accident. I said, 'How bad was it?' They said really bad. We class it at Level 9 - level 10 is deceased,” he said.
Ms Hogan was in a coma with a traumatic brain injury. Four days after the accident, her parents were told she would live.
"She's quick to say she's not disabled, she's injured. She's not sick, she's injured,” said Mr Hogan.
"Both her and I have never given up on a full recovery,” he added. "And we never will."