LAKE CITY, Fla. -- Carly Cason will be 3 months old Tuesday, but the little girl has already proven she's a survivor. On Monday, her parents held Carly close, as Lake City gathered at Olustee Park to see her.
On November 6, Carrie and Matt Cason rushed their daughter to the hospital, where Carly was diagnosed with bleeding in her brain.
"At first they had lots of bad, bad news for us," said Carrie, "and they told us there was permanent brain damage. They told us that she could not see due to bilateral hemmoraging in both retinas, and her ligaments were torn in her neck."
They are injuries, police say, that occured while 19-year-old Summer Albritton was babysitting. The Casons tell Action News that Albritton has been their babysitter for almost a year, has cared for all three of their children, and until she was arrested for cruelty toward a child three days after the injury, they still believed it was an accident.
But doctors say Carly is a victim of shaken baby syndrome, and her recovery has been nothing short of a miracle.
"She may suffer learning damages or mobility or vision, but then as they see her improving they add that she's resilient, she's a baby, and she has every chance to be normal."
With friends and strangers circled around them Monday, the Casons thanked God their daughter is still alive, and prayed Carly's life will continue to inspire an entire community.
"I know that God has big things in mind for this little girl," said Matt with tears, "and if it was just one person that this was supposed to reach and change their life, then it was worth it."
The Casons say Carly is better, but still recovering. Over the next month she has six appointments scheduled with various specialists, and it could be years before the extent of her injuries are known.
The state attorney's office tells Action News that Summer Albritton could face formal charges soon, and her next court date has not been set as a result.