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      USC freshman paralyzed in Five Points shooting, thriving in therapy

      <font size="2">Martha Childress contiues to thrive while recovering at a facility in Atlanta.</font>

      COLUMBIA (WACH) - The family of a USC freshman injured by a bullet in Five Points in October said she is planning to be home for Christmas.

      Jim Carpenter, the uncle of Martha Childress, said the 18-year-old should be home in time for Christmas. The Shepherd Center, said Martha has been working hard on her rehabilitation and is expected to come home to Greenville next week.

      Childress was paralyzed after she was struck by a stray bullet in Five Points while waiting for a ride back to her dorm on the USC campus. She was standing by the fountain on Harden Street when the shooting happened.

      Columbia Police arrested Michael Juan Smith and charged him with attempted murder. Smith also faces charges several federal weapons charges.

      "We are thrilled with not only the progress Martha has made since she has been with us, but also with how she has adjusted to this devastating injury," said Anna Elmers, M.D., her physician at Shepherd Center. "She always has a smile when I see her, even when she is in pain. It has been such a pleasure to take care of her."

      "I'm beyond thankful to be alive," Martha said. "I cannot believe the outpouring of support and prayers from those not only in South Carolina, but around the country, as well. I am thankful for my treatment team at Shepherd Center for teaching me how to live again. I am also thankful to those who have constantly kept me in their thoughts. I can't wait to get back to my life and live as normally as possible."

      Martha's mother, Pam has been touched by the experience, saying "On behalf of my entire family, I would like to express our thanks for the prayers, thoughts and support shown for Martha during this life-changing event. As a parent, one can never prepare themselves for anything like this, and I wish this experience on no one."

      "That being said, our heartfelt thanks also go out to the entire staff at Shepherd Center in Atlanta," Mrs. Childress added. "Our experience here has been exceptional and unparalleled. Martha is a strong, courageous and brave young woman, who I know will thrive as she makes her way through life. She will make a difference!"