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She Was Playing Kickball When She Was Hit By A Stray Bullet. Now She’s 36, Paralyzed, And Reclaiming Her Independence

There are no more morning runs, no standing at the bar with friends, no easy trip in an Uber to go out to eat. She feels intense self-consciousness when she thinks about riding the bus, worried about getting the wheelchair on and concerned other riders will pity her.

“I try not to draw attention to my chair. I don’t want people looking at it,” she said. “I want to feel like you. I want to feel like everybody else. And it just is a reminder that I’m not walking.

Some of her anxiety, she said, could be stemmed if police solved the crime. Philadelphia Police Chief Inspector Frank Vanore said investigators identified a suspect and are “working with some other evidence” but have not definitively connected the person to the errant gunfire.

Detectives speak regularly with Lyons’ mother, Susan Prima, who travels to Philadelphia from New Jersey a few times a month to take her youngest daughter to doctor’s appointments. Sometimes she arrives at the new apartment Lyons moved into — because it’s wheelchair accessible — and when she sees her daughter come out of the bedroom in a wheelchair, all she can think is “no.”
“My heart is broken,” Prima said. “I’m better than I was May 19th. But my heart will always be broken. It will never be the same.”

Lyons knows her family is changed, and that her friends, some of whom watched her get shot, have experienced layers of trauma different from her own. She tries to put on a brave front and smile as much as she can, flashing what her mother calls “the deepest dimples you will ever see.”

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