PORT JEFF STATION - It’s been three years since a Port Jeff Station toddler nearly drowned in a bathtub, but her father refuses to give up hope, dedicating his life to helping his now 4-year-old daughter heal. News 12 Long Island’s Jackie Lukas has this special report, "Kayla’s Fight."
In 2013, Robert Marianetti says his now ex-wife left their daughter Kayla in a bathtub unsupervised. He says Kayla was unresponsive for at least 22 minutes. When she was revived, Marianetti says Kayla suffered a traumatic brain injury, leaving her mentally and physically disabled at 17 months old.
Marianetti says he is doing everything he can to make Kayla better. “She's not going to end up laying in bed for the rest of her life; she's going to have a life,” says Marianetti.
During a News 12 report last year, Kayla could barely move. Now, after numerous doctors and therapy sessions, Marianetti says Kayla can hold her head up, stand and take baby steps with support. Her medical team is amazed with her recovery so far.
“We met the goals, and we plowed right through them; and we're making new goals,” says therapist Jonathan Orgel.
Doctors monitoring Kayla’s brainwaves say over the past two years, her brain activity has increased 36 percent.
Marianetti says the sky is the limit for his little girl, but the medical bills and treatment costs, some of which are not covered by insurance, are adding up. So far, Marianetti says he’s spent more than $500,000 for Kayla’s medical needs, but he’s not stopping. He has a GoFundMe page he's set up to raise money to help with medical bills. That can be found here.
“I know she’s going to walk. I know she’s going to talk. I’m not going to stop until she does,” says Marianetti.