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Parasitic Meningitis Victim Off Ventilator

Girl now focusing on physical therapy.
LITTLE ROCK, AR-- For the first time in 14 days, a Central Arkansas girl with a rare form of meningitis is breathing on her own.

Traci Hardig says her daughter, Kali, is slowly getting better. Tuesday around noon, doctors removed Kali's ventilator.

"As Kali went to take her first breath, you can feel the whole room kind of exhale with her. It was just an overwhelming feeling," said Traci.

Kali has been in the hospital since July 19, after getting parasitic meningitis. It is a brain eating illness that has seen just 2 survivors in the last forty years.

"Yesterday, (doctors) didn't even want to take her off the vent because she couldn't lift her arms up enough, but today she can lift her arms, move her legs," said Traci.

Now the focus turns to physical therapy, which will be another major hurdle. Traci says her  daughter tried to smile Tuesday.

"You can tell she tried really hard. The side of her mouth went up. It was a little cheesy, but hey it was worth it. It was a smile to me," said Traci laughingly.
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