NE Phila. teen, injured in accident, walks in graduation

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Sunday, June 15, 2014
VIDEO: NE Phila. teen, injured in accident, walks in graduation
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A Northeast Philadelphia teen, injured in an accident, graduated high school but the biggest accomplishment for her was actually being able to walk across the stage.

NORTHEAST PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Gioannamarie Romano blew a kiss to our photographer before she prepared to graduate with the rest of the Class of 2014 at Tacony Academy Charter High School.

However her major accomplishment Saturday wasn't graduating high school but actually being able to walk across the stage to receive her diploma.

"I was just thinking how far I came from, where I was four years ago to where I am today now," said Romano.

Four years ago, an out of control car pinned her against a wall at a shopping center near Frankford Avenue and Welsh Road.

Romano lay in a coma for four days, lost her left leg above the knee, broke numerous bones and still wears a brace on her right leg.

"When she woke up, she was upset, she cried a little she said, 'What do I have to do to get out of this bed?' and she never looked back," said Tom Romano, father.

"I practiced, I did therapy and I did everything so I'd be able to walk across the stage," said Romano.

Six months after the accident, she started her physical therapy, spending her freshman year at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.

Romano's sophomore year was spent learning from home including visits from teachers.

"I believe it was fate that it happened but I believe it made me a different person because I see things from a different level and I never would have been able to see that if it didn't happen," said Romano.

At CHOP, she became a cheerleader for other patients and found her calling.

"I want to help people and the only way I know best to help people is to be a doctor," she said.

Romano will be headed off to Bryn Athyn College in August.