Tampa, Florida -- A USF student, who was the victim of a lawnmower accident when she was 23 months old, is speaking out after two children recover at Tampa General Hospital from two similar accidents over a three-day span.
Four-year-old Makaya Lee continues her recovery, after her dad accidentally hit one of her legs with his riding lawn mower, and is reportedly in good condition.
While the condition of 3-year-old boy in Lee County has not been released by his family after his foot was sliced halfway through by the blade of a riding mower.
Katie Colding says she knows what both children will go through in their long-term recoveries since she lived it.
In September of 1992, Katie's mother accidentally ran her over with the lawnmower on their ranch.
"She told me to go stand by the tree so she could stop the lawnmower completely. I didn't and the next thing she knew I was underneath it," says Katie. "I lost half of my right foot and my large toe on my left. I ended up at Shriners for 21 days had seven to eight surgeries."
Despite doctors telling her she'd never dance, or play sports, Katie's defied them all.
"Dancing, gymnastics, softball, swimming, tennis, volleyball, golf," Katie says are just a few of the activities she participated in.
It's a message of hope for the families of Ireland Nugent and Makaya Lee, but she warns growing up will have its challenges.
There will be the questions.
"I used it as a show and tell to knock out all the questions in one shot. It was easier that way," she says.
There will be the peer pressure.
"I did have a problem in middle school. All the girls wear heels and I can never do that," recalls Katie.
In middle school, she says she felt resentment toward her mother.
"I remember there was one point I did blame her for it. I would take it back in a heartbeat," says Katie as she wipes tears from her eyes.
Knowing the struggles she faced growing up, when Katie heard of 4-year-old Makaya Lee's accident in Bowling Green just miles from her family home she decided to reach out to the family.
"I related to her," says an emotional and tearful Katie. "I just want to be there. Even though I don't know her at all, I feel it'd be nice to talk to her about it."
Her message to Makaya is simple.
"Learn to embrace it. Don't think of yourself as different. If somebody tells you, you can't do something prove them wrong because you can do anything."
Katie hopes to meet Makaya and be a mentor to her through her recovery if the family allows it.
She's majoring in public health and hopes to work for Shriners and help others recovering from life changing accidents as they have helped her as grew up.