Toddler Samyah Bailey suffered a devastating trauma last month when she was shot in the face while sitting in her stroller outside her home in Staten Island.
But Wednesday evening, it was clear that 22-month-old Samyah has made an amazing recovery.
"To be shot in the skull and having it come out through the eye, and be as good as she is right now -- it's a miracle," neurosurgeon Dr. John Shiau said at a fundraiser for the Bailey family at The Staten Island Roadhouse restaurant.
On Sept. 14, Samyah was caught in the crossfire of a gun battle inside the courtyard of the Arlington Apartments complex.
She was rushed to Richmond University Medical Center, where surgeons operated on her brain for hours.
"My worst fear was her losing her life or brain damage," said Stephanie Bailey, Samyah's mother.
Amazingly, Samyah suffered no brain damage, but she lost her left eye. And now the bills from treating the toddler's gunshot wound are piling up fast.
"I'm still ducking from those," admitted Stephanie Bailey.
Local leaders in the Baileys' community, recognizing the costs of treating the trauma, organized a fundraiser to help the family deal with the mountain of medical bills.
Community members came out in force to meet the spirited Samyah and to help her family: Stephanie Bailey had to leave her job as a home attendant to take her daughter to many doctor's appointments. Money is tight, and they can't bear to stay at the Arlington apartments, so they've been living with Samyah's grandmother.
The community's response was heartening: more than $2,000 was raised at the event Wednesday, and organizers say more is on the way. Stokke, a manufacturer of luxury baby products, has donated a stroller and a high chair.
A prosthetic eye, and the surgery to implant it, have also been donated to Samyah.
It's all a great help for the Bailey family.
"Life is hard," said Samyah's father Michael Bailey, "but my baby's alive and strong."
Damark King, 19, of Staten Island, was arrested and charged in connection with the Sept. 14 shooting.
If you would like to donate and help the Bailey family, please reach out to The Staten Island Roadhouse restaurant at 1400 Clove Road in Sunnyside, Staten Island. 718-447-0033