On April 7, 2018, the lives of the Clemens family changed forever. The family of seven was a few miles out from Sterling City, Texas when they were involved in a head-on collision.
Parents Jim and Karisa and the couple’s two-month-old daughter Juliana were killed.
Their other children Zachery, Wyatt, Angela, and Nicholas, survived but were in critical condition.
The three eldest children were rushed to a Fort Worth hospital where they would start their long road to recovery.
Angela, 8, suffered massive head trauma, which left her in a coma for a week. She also broke her legs.
Zachary, 5, broke his back and had many internal injuries. Wyatt, 4, had several strokes and was initially left partially paralyzed on his left side.
The youngest surviving sibling, Nicholas, 2, was treated at the hospital for his injuries, then released a few days later into the care of his aunt.
Each child underwent both high and low points during their grueling recovery.
When Angela finally woke up, Teresa Burrell, the children’s great aunt told TODAY, the first person Angela asked for was her brother.
“So we knew she had remembrance of her family,” Burrell said. “It’s really hard with brain damage to know where you’re headed. But we are very hopeful from where we were a couple of weeks ago.”
One moment in particular that raised hope in everyone was when the three siblings saw each other for the first time since the deadly crash.
“It was what they really needed,” Burrell said. “They just are grieving and were comforting each other.”
Durning Zachary’s recovery, the boy began to show signs of a deep depression. To lift his spirits, they threw an ice cream party. His guests included his big sister Angela and his little brother Wyatt.
“They sang silly songs and it was like night and day. He just improved,” Burrell said. “All three of them being together just lifted his spirits. He just cheered up.”
As the days turned into weeks, the Clemens siblings continued to heal physically, and their road to recovery was made a bit easier thanks to a fundraiser which raised almost $300,000 toward their care.
“So many good people, from all different kinds of faiths, have united their prayers on behalf of these children, and we’ve felt it,” Burrell said. “We felt it as a family and we’ve definitely seen it in these children. We’ve just seen it. It’s just been a miracle and it’s been amazing.”
Ever since the photos of the Clemens siblings reuniting went viral, the kids have steadily continued to get stronger.
According to PEOPLE, the kids now live with their grandmother, Susan Skillicorn, and her husband. Burrell said that while the family isn’t sure how Angela’s brain damage will impact her, she and her siblings began a new school last September.
“We were visiting, I want to say a month and a half or so ago … they were running around but trying not to run around,” Burrell told PEOPLE. “There was just lots of laughter and lots of happiness. There’s also sad moments of course, they miss their parents, they’re gonna need to have counseling — but their future looks bright, they’re doing as well as can be as expected.”
While the children are not completely healed, they have made incredible strides in their recovery, surprising family and doctors alike.
We wish these children all the best during their arduous journey, but we know they have a lot of support behind them, and that’s just as important if not more so than even the best medical care.
God bless these kids.