Rallying for Rylee: A little girl’s fight against the odds

Local News

If you’ve never seen a miracle up close then allow me to introduce you to 10-year-old Rylee Rawls.

A little girl who continues to overcome the impossible.

“Looking at her you wouldn’t know anything happened to her,” said nurse/ pastor’s wife, Kristen Anderson. 

It all started on just another normal summer day for everyone.

“I’d actually just left because I was going to the daycare down the road to pick my two kids up,” said Zach Anderson, Pastor Cheniere Baptist Church. 

Rylee left home with a friend headed to vacation bible school here at Chiniere Baptist Church in West Monroe. As traffic slowed down a train came speeding down these tracks and a white truck was hit with Rylee still inside. 

The truck cut in half—the people scared into panic.

“Things are not good there was an accident. We need help,” Zach Anderson, Pastor Cheniere Baptist Church. 

“And then a couple seconds later one of the ladies ran in and started screaming for me to come outside. 

Five people were in the truck–and everyone walked away except one.

“All of them were able to get out of the car and i look in the middle back seat and i see this one,” said nurse/ pastor’s wife, Kristen Anderson. 

Kristen Anderson is a pastor’s wife but also a nurse.
When she first saw Rylee she knew it was bad.
My first thought was to get her out of the vehicle. I didn’t know what was wrong I didn’t know what was wrong with her, I didn’t know her name, I didn’t know how old she was, I didn’t know anything about her,” said nurse/ pastor’s wife, Kristen Anderson. 

The gruesome scene still imprinted in her mind.

“Blood everywhere, hair i mean i looked at her and i seen my own kid,” said nurse/ pastor’s wife, Kristen Anderson. 

Rylee’s mother and father racing to get there— with  fear of not knowing the condition of their only child.

“We were terrified the whole way because if she was ok somebody would’ve said she was ok,” said Rylee’s mother Kathryn Rawls. 

“Honestly when you looked at the situation it didn’t seem like there was a lot of hope,” said Zach Anderson, Pastor Cheniere Baptist Church. 

“When i started rescue breathing she had blood coming out of her mouth,” said nurse/ pastor’s wife, Kristen Anderson. 

And on top of that — the train was blocking first responders from getting to Rylee for nearly an hour.

“At that time another one of my deacons wives ran up and she’s on the phone with 9-1-1 and they’re telling me they can’t get anyone in,” said nurse/ pastor’s wife, Kristen Anderson. 

Leaving it all up to Kristen to save Rylee’s life.

“Being a nurse i knew the longer that i couldn’t get her to do anything the worse off that she was gonna be,” said nurse/ pastor’s wife, Kristen Anderson. 

She performed c-p-r for a total of three minutes to bring rylee back.

“Still i thought now she’s breathing  and she has a pulse but she’s not responsive at all,” said nurse/ pastor’s wife, Kristen Anderson. 

“It seemed like it happened in a split second but at the same time an eternity the way everything carried out,” said Zach Anderson, Pastor Cheniere Baptist Church. 

“I don’t know how many rounds of rescue breaths i did on her and she finally went,” said nurse/ pastor’s wife, Kristen Anderson. 

A careflight helicopter came to rush Rylee to the hospital in Shreveport.

“I knew nothing except they said this probably isn’t going to go your way,” said Rylee’s mother Kathryn Rawls. 

After drilling through her skull to repair the damage– Rylee was put on life support–she wasn’t supposed to make it through the night.

But, she miraculously she did. 

“Here we are. Here. Alive and well walking talking breathing living,” said mother, Kathryn Rawls. 

But, for Rylee and her family that’s just the beginning of this journey.

“You know we’re just going four days a week every single week and if she has an extra doctor’s appointment then we’re five days a week,” said Rawls. 

She suffered severe brain damage from the accident. Affecting her mentally emotionally.

“Oh my gosh when she cries she cries with everything she has it will make you cry,” said Rawls. 

Despite the pain she continues to beat the odds.

“They thought if she survived that she would lose the left eye,” said Rawls. 

Yet she now walks around with both eyes–growing stronger every day.

“We had to start at her abc’s she didn’t even know her letters, or numbers, or shapes, or colors,” said Rawls. 

Once a fourth grader reading on a 7th grade level–she’s forced to start all over.

“For occupational therapy they do a lot of puzzles and word search.
I mean she’s made leaps and bounds. She’s miles from where she was,” said an emotional Rawls. 

Look what god has done look what she’s able to do 

Kathryn just happy they’ve made it to this point.

“She makes a full recovery that’s wonderful that’s wonderful. If she doesn’t i don’t care because i have her,” said Rawls. 

But she can’t help but want more.

“The way she was at 4:50pm june the 26th she was perfectly normal,” said Rawls. 

Rylee’s fight–her spirit–has become an inspiration.

The times I’ve been around her she’s full of life she bounces around and she’s happy-go-lucky normal child. 

“Huge miracle that she’s like the way she is,” said K. Anderson. 

Now for the first time since the accident–a reunion that’s been eight months in the making.

“I’ve been wanting to see her for a long time,” said Rawls. 

Emotions pour out as Kathryn gets to say thank you face to face.

“At Christmas i wanted to send you a picture of her and tell you that because of you we still had Christmas, but I didn’t want to hurt you,” said an emotional Rawls. 

For Kristen it’s been a long road too– the guilt of not being sure if she did all the right things.

“I felt better after i kept in touch with Kathy and we texted back and forth and let me know how she was doing,” said K. Anderson. 

Rylee’s recovery even helping Kristen get over what was almost a tragic day for everyone.

“It’s not about me it’s about her but i feel like it’s helped me helped me heal from this too, said K. Anderson. 

But when one puts together all the pieces to the puzzle  that day– you can’t help but utter the word–miracle.

“None of it was a coincidence i don’t believe. The previous days that I usually picked up my kids from school, but for some reason I had to print some stuff off I was running late,” said Rawls. 

“My wife and i had just literally had the discussion on who was going to go pick them up me or her,” said Z. Anderson. 

Kristen wouldn’t have even been there if they hadn’t switched places–to pick up the kids.

“What if my husband had stayed and he didn’t know what to do and the average person does not know what to do,” said K. Anderson. 

Making them feel like it was all for a reason.

Even the doctors can’t help but say– “God. They all say god,” said an overjoyed Rawls. 

“Huge miracle that she’s like the way she is,” said K. Anderson. 

“I get to jump higher,” said Rylee. 

Her healing has even become healing for others.

“It gave me an increased amount of faith to see that accident and to see how close that train came to striking the cab of that truck,” said Z. Anderson. 

A  running, jumping testimony if you ever saw one. A symbol of hope.

“Like there’s a purpose for things. My whole thing is she’s just meant for something greater,” said K. Anderson. 

“A member of the church came up to Rylee and he had tears in his eyes and he held her hands and he said i just wanted to feel what a miracle feels like,” said Rawls. 

“She’s telling a miraculous story for all to see and that’s a story that’s not going to go away anytime soon,” said Z. Anderson. 

There’s a GoFundMe page called rally for Rylee to the family as they continue to help her recover.

You can click HERE to help the cause.

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