AMAZING RECOVERY: Houston toddler who nearly died after getting sick in Mexico makes major progress

CYPRESS, Texas (KTRK) -- In July, a little girl just one month shy of her first birthday fell ill while on a trip with her parents to visit family in Mexico. She required emergency surgery to repair what's called a telescoping of the intestine. During the operation, a catheter became dislodged and cut off oxygen to her brain, causing a series of strokes to a very small patient.

Emma Rose Barba's story went viral on social media, after parents Francisco and Emily Barba posted an appeal on Go Fund Me to raise money to fly their only child home to Houston and Texas Children's Hospital.

RELATED: Toddler sickened in Mexico returning home to Houston
EMBED More News Videos

ABC13's Deborah Wrigley reports on the impending return of a child who was sickened while on vacation with her family in Mexico.

Fast forward to Saturday at a home in the Cypress area, where Emma Rose played with her toys with her parents looking on.

"It's amazing, having her back," said Francisco Barba. Back in the sense that there's no mistaking the now 14-month-old is vocal and crawling as she did before the medical crisis.

She was at Texas Children's Hospital for more than a month as specialists assessed the damage that the oxygen deprivation and strokes caused.

"At first they thought she might have cerebral palsy, but I think any brain injury can fall under that," said her mother, Emily Barba.

"Some were saying she may need a wheelchair and require help forever, but others said she's so young, and didn't know how it might be," she said.

They had faith and hope, but those possibilities worried them. And then came the day when they finally took Emma Rose home.

"As soon as she was inside, she started smiling," said her dad. Every day her parents said they notice something new.

"She started playing with the iPad and swiping the screen to hear different songs," said Emily. She's crawling and she's talking, although it's still in toddler jargon.

Both her parents were teachers. Dad Francisco changed careers to improve his income, which allowed Emily to stay home and take care of Emma Rose. The routine includes follow-up doctor's appointments, and eventually, physical therapy.

The remarkable recovery wouldn't have been possible without the generous response from strangers to to Emma's Go Fund Me campaign. In the span of just a few days, more than $30,000 was raised, which paid for the medical care in Mexico, which wasn't covered by insurance, plus the cost of an air ambulance flight to Houston.

"All those people who heard her story and helped share it, or helped donate or prayed. I think it was a lot of the community helping," said Emily Barba about what made her daughter's survival possible.

"It's a story of hope," said Francisco Barba, in spite of what seemed like impossible obstacles to overcome. "And it's a miracle at the end."

Follow Deborah Wrigley on Facebook and Twitter.

RELATED: Family hoping for miracle to get sick 11-month-old back to Houston says she is improving
EMBED More News Videos

Family hoping to get 11-month-old back to Houston to treat illness.

Copyright © 2022 KTRK-TV. All Rights Reserved.