Eye-tracking computer helps paralyzed shooting victim

Shawnice Singletary was shot in May of this year

In the blink of an eye the life of a Baltimore woman was profoundly changed.

Earlier this year someone shot Shawnice Singletary in the neck, paralyzing her from the neck down.

Now, she has more help re-connecting with the world. The Tobii ATI company donated a new computer to her.  It allows her to e-mail, text, surf the web, Skype, everything a person with the ability to type could do – and she can do it just by moving her eyeballs.

"It helps a lot. It helps be to be able to communicate with my family," Singletary said.  Now that she is off of a ventilator, her ability to speak has returned.

"When she starts operating the computer and she gets online or on Facebook, seeing her friends, you can just see her face light up immediately," said Dr. Albert Chi, a surgeon at Johns Hopkins Hospital.

To use her old computer, Shawnice had to move her entire head, which was exhausting because of that shooting four months ago along Northern Parkway not far from her home.

"I feel that my condition has really improved. I feel much better," she said.

But she still has a long way to go.  After hearing about Shawnice, the Tobii ATI company decided to donate the new computer, hoping to let other people in similar situations know what can be available for them.

"We have to get the word out there. That it's easy; it is not science-fiction and it can help them gain their independence and some of their previous life back," said Tara Rudnicki, the president of Tobii ATI.

Specialty Hospital in Washington, which helped Shawnice get off the ventilator, also donated $8-thousand dollars to her and her family.

"We come across patients every day that are going through something and :27 Shawnice's story is just inspiring. And whatever we can do to help, we are willing to do," said Cheron McNear of Specialty Hospital.

And the Johns Hopkins Hospital presented Shawnice with an award for being an inspiration to others.

She says she tries not to look back to the night that changed her life forever.

"I ask myself why, who, why would they do this. Who did it? I have moments like that but i just leave it alone," she said.

Instead, she looks forward to years and decades of rehabilitation, but also years and decades with her children and grandchildren.

"I don't have use of my legs and things, but I'm glad I'm still alive. I'm still here," she said.

Shawnice can she can move her shoulder and her hand, but her doctor says fine motor skills might never return.

Police say they have no suspects in her shooting.

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