Toddler still recovering 1 year later after near drowning in Augusta Mall

News 12 @ 11 o'clock/ Sunday, Aug. 31, 2014

AUGUSTA, Ga (WRDW) -- It's been one year since three-year-old Alayna Ishmael almost drowned in a fountain at the Augusta Mall.

The toddler is still recovering from the near-death experience. Sunday one group came together to raise money for Alayna and her family.

Folks who met Alayna before her accident described her as a busy bee and she still is today. Although she still has a long way to go, her mother says seeing the community stand behind them is a big help. One year ago everything changed for Ashlie Ishmael and her now three-year-old daughter Alayna.

"It's been a little rough here and there but we just try to focus on the good things and the positive," Ashlie said.

Alayna was only two-years-old when she wandered away from the play area at the Augusta Mall and fell into the fountain, nearly drowning. Now she's on the road to recovery.

"Just thankful she's able to do the things she's doing now and move forward," Alayna's mother said.

Things like throwing out the first pitch at a baseball game. Something that wouldn't be possible without friends like Wilbur Gordon. He met Alayna and her mom at a Green Jacket's game only a month before the accident.

"I called her Busy Bee. That was the name I gave her, because as soon as you put her down she took off and she was running all around.

Gordon was shocked to hear about her accident, and a year later, he's still trying to help the little girl he once saw buzzing around.

"When I heard about them struggling, if I had the money myself to give I would, but I said I can do something," Gordon said.

That something turned into a baseball game in Alayna's honor. All proceeds to be donated to the family. Ashlie stays home to give Alayna the care she needs, but with medical bills mounting, it's hard to keep up.

Wilbur says this goes beyond just the Ishmaels, it's about community.

"With all of us, if we could just do a little something to help the next one, if everybody brings a brick we can build something," he said.

A little something that goes along way for this mom and her little survivor.

"I think it is just awesome that everyone is still thinking about her and praying for her and I just want to say thank you to everyone who has supported us," Ashlie said.

If you want to know more about Alayna's story and her recovery, you can visit her Facebook page.

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