Mom: Lee woman hit by car will 'fight her way back'

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SPRINGFIELD — Lisa Zabian goes to a bed-and-breakfast across the street from the hospital when she needs a couple of hours of sleep.

And when she does, a circulating flow of family and friends stays with her daughter, Khali Zabian, 19, who is nearing the time when she will emerge from a coma after she was hit by a car in Great Barrington two weeks ago and suffered a traumatic brain injury and other fractures.

It still is too early to know her daughter's full prognosis with certainty, but Lisa Zabian told The Eagle on Tuesday that her daughter does respond to pain, but not to commands. And she has made very small movements with her right arm and hand.

"She has given us a kind of thumbs-up a few times," she said. "It's a very small movement. Someone said `Khali, can you move your thumb?' And she very, very, very gently moves it."

She also has had her eyes open and has made sustained eye contact.

And then this happened: "She grabbed my husband's hand the other night — so, I believe that she can hear."

The family is looking into long-term rehabilitation options for a move that could happen in the next two weeks, and Lisa Zabian said she and other family members plan to go live "wherever she goes."

Khali Zabian was moved here to Baystate Medical Center on Aug. 8, the day after a car hit her on Route 7 just before 10 p.m. She had been driving home to Lee after work when, police say, her car broke down after she crashed into guardrails near Fountain Pond. Zabian was standing in the road with a man who had stopped to help when a car struck her. The 17-year-old driver was charged with operating under the influence and is suspected of having used marijuana, according to police.

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Town police are investigating and are asking that anyone who might have witnessed the accident or passed by the scene early on to come forward.

Lisa Zabian said that doctors have been slowly trying to wean her daughter off sedatives but decided to wait. They also are getting ready to operate on her left arm, in which she has a serious fracture.

Lisa Zabian and her husband, Ali Zabian, said their daughter, who was getting ready to return to college in Florida when the accident happened, has inspired a prayer chain that has circled the world and stretched to others who also need prayers.

"If I did not have strong faith, I would not be able to get through this," Lisa Zabian said, noting all the support the family is receiving locally and from people all over the world.

"In these times where our world is chaotic and there is so much anger and so much hate, I find it amazing that this little girl from Lee, Massachusetts, has brought so many people together who are just praying and loving each other. It gives me hope."

She also said the 9 p.m. prayer circle started at the family's church in Lee now has spread to the hospital, where people simply hold hands and pray, even if they don't speak the same language.

And Khali Zabian's own spirit also is strong enough to pull her through this, her mother says, noting her daughter's humility and kindness amid smarts and talent, and a career at Lee High School that was full of awards and top grades.

"I know that she's a fighter ... she'll fight her way back — I know she will."

Heather Bellow can reached at hbellow@berkshireeagle.com or on Twitter @BE_hbellow and 413-329-6871.


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