Arizona Representative Gabrielle Giffords has spoken for the first time since she was shot in the forehead, marking another significant milestone in her recovery from a traumatic brain injury.
Ms Giffords first spoke within the past few days and is speaking “more and more,” spokesman CJ Karamargin said.
He did not know what her first words were, but said at breakfast one morning she asked for toast. “She’s working very hard and it’s paying off,” he said.
“We’re elated at this. We always knew Gabby is a fighter and that she’s not going to let this thing win. And you know, every day is proof of that.”
Six people, including a nine-year-old girl and a federal judge, were killed in the attack outside a shop where Ms Giffords was meeting with constituents. Thirteen people, including Ms Giffords, were injured.
In a Facebook post on Tuesday, Ms Giffords’ husband Captain Mark Kelly said his wife had her appetite back and was eating three times a day, “even though it’s hospital food”.
“It is hard to believe that only one month has passed since Gabrielle was shot,” he wrote. The doctors say she is recovering at lightning speed considering her injury but they aren’t kidding when they say this is a marathon process.”
He said there are “encouraging signs every day,” pointing to her renewed appetite. “Your prayers are being heard, so don’t stop,” he wrote.
Capt Kelly, a Nasa astronaut, said last week that he expects his wife to be well enough to be at his space launch in two months. The space shuttle Endeavour will leave on April 19 for a two-week mission to the International Space Station, and Capt Kelly will be on board leading a veteran all-male crew. The mission will be Endeavour’s final flight and Capt Kelly’s fourth.
Dr Gerard Francisco, who is treating Ms Giffords at a rehabilitation facility in Houston, said that he hopes the congresswoman can make enough progress to attend the space launch but said it was too early to say.