DADEVILLE, Ala. (WIAT) — Cheryl Sledge-Richards feels she’s been to hell and back.
”There’s been ups and downs,” Sledge-Richards said. “But what has been consistent is our faith.”
She was by her daughter Trinity’s side after the 16-year-old was shot several times in the mass shooting at a teenager’s birthday party in Dadeville back on April 15. A day that ended in heartbreak but began with a heart-to-heart talk between mother and daughter.
”We had some really deep conversations that Saturday morning,” Sledge-Richards said. “And I said to her in Target ‘Every day, somebody doesn’t make it home to their mama, and somebody’s mama doesn’t make it home to them.’ And later in the day, I talked to God and said, ‘Lord, please not me. Don’t do that to me.’ I did not know that was going to be our day.”
A foretelling that could not have prepared Sledge-Richards for a phone call late in the night on April 15.
”It was a friend of hers and ours saying that his sister had gotten a call that Trinity had got shot at the party, and I thought ‘No way,’” Sledge-Richards said.
Trinity was shot four times and seriously injured. In a rush, Trinity’s family made its way to the hospital where she was fighting for her life.
”I sat down, and they told me that she had been shot in the head and it was like a ton of bricks fell out of the ceiling,” Sledge-Richards said. “And I was like, ‘How am I going to tell anybody, but especially her dad and her siblings?’”
After 34 days of trial and struggle, Trinity has made what her mother calls a miraculous recovery under the care of UAB Hospital — regaining movement, sitting up by herself and ready for the next phase in her recovery.
”We are ready for rehab,” Sledge-Richards said. “Trinity has amazing speech therapist, physical therapist, occupational therapist and every day she makes a gain. It’s like magic.”
Through the heartbreak and struggle the road to recovery is now visible. A testament to a young girl’s grit and the power of faith.
”We are doing amazingly well despite the circumstances,” Sledge-Richards said. “We are trying to figure out, like how we are doing this every day for 34 days now. God is the only answer for that. I could not have done that overwise.”
Trinity has a goal to be back in school next January, if not sooner. The family has set up a GoFundMe fundraiser to help with the cost of such a long and expensive recovery.