A New Mexico woman battling a rare brain tumor finally got to go home Tuesday after spending more than a year in the hospital.
Katie Gutierrez got an amazing homecoming, and she appreciated every second of it.
“It’s just amazing to see her fight and never give up, and the true meaning of somebody that doesn’t give up is her,” family friend Savannah Cueto said.
“We wanted to be here as a community to welcome her home. The road that she’s been on, and that her family has been on, has been a tough one,” Eunice Police Chief Jimmie Jones said.
The streets of Eunice were lined with people holding signs and balloons as the ambulance carrying Gutierrez made its way down Main Street to her house.
The 20-year-old has been battling Craniopharyngioma for nearly a decade now. It’s a rare, non-cancerous brain tumor in the pituitary gland, and has caused her to go blind, and have occasional seizures.
Still, her family says she hasn’t let that keep her from smiling, or fighting.
“It was overwhelming. It’s incredible. The journey she’s been on and all of the support, it’s unfathomable. We’re so lucky and blessed to be a part of a community that loves our family,” her parents, Kevin and Amy Gutierrez, said.
Gutierrez was just released from a hospital in Albuquerque.
She also was in Phoenix for a few months, as well as a transition home. Her sister says they have a setup in their home similar to what she had in the hospital, with a special bed.
The community also came together to build her a wheelchair ramp outside to easily get in and out.
They say she’s all settled in and happily sleeping now.
Gutierrez will have physical therapy sessions twice a week in her home.