Katy Blake meets her idol and continues to recover - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Katy Blake meets her idol and continues to recover

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PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) -

It's been a year of transition for 25-year-old Katy Blake of Pascagoula. She was left a quadriplegic following a diving accident in the summer of 2010. Since then, she has made remarkable progress in her recovery, with a major milestone reached just this past weekend.

Katy Blake is getting around much better these days, thanks to a month long stay at the world famous Shepherd Re-Hab Center in Atlanta earlier this year. 

"I did a lot of therapy as far as learning how to regain my independence, as well as learning how to walk again," Katy explained. "They put me on a machine called the Locomat, which, if you can imagine, it's almost like a robotic suit that goes on my legs and my arms and actually puts me over a treadmill." 

Katy said It wasn't all work though.  

"I got to go to a camp where I got to ride a jetski, and waterski and zipline and just all sorts of amazing things that I would not be able to do had it not been for Shepherd," Katy said. 

She still loves to paint, and her creations help raise money for additional re-hab.  

"I've done three art festivals since we last spoke, and it has been just amazing. The response I've gotten has just been incredible," Katy recalled. 

The highlight of the year? A chance to meet her idol, Saints quarterback Drew Brees last Saturday, giving him a special painting. 

"He's extremely genuine, his smile," Katy said. "You can just see what a good person he is. When he speaks to you, he makes you feel like you're the only person in that room when he's talking to you. Very, very easy to talk to." 

One thing that Katy has discovered over the past year in the power of social media like Facebook and Twitter and other social media sites. It's been a tremendous help for her to get the word out and also to feel some compassion from her many friends.  

"It's really helped me through, when I'm upset and I go on there and people offer so many words of encouragement and inspire me so much. So it's really been very therapeutic, as well as helping me raise money financially," Katy explained.

That, and a little inspiration from Drew Brees never hurts.You can learn more about Katy's journey at http://rehabforkaty.org/.

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