Caitlin Little, 19, was a freshman at Southeast Guilford High School five years ago. She was just 14 when a seemingly harmless accident changed her life forever.
On October 12, 2017, Caitlin was running at cross-country practice when one of her teammates stumbled and accidentally hit her on the right temple.
She didn't black out, but her mother's concern grew when she got to their car and asked how to open the door.
Caitlin's parents took her to the hospital in Greensboro, where doctors said she had a concussion and her memory would likely be back to normal in three weeks, WGHP reported in 2019.
不幸的是，就像2004年电影《初恋50次》（50 First Dates）中的女主角一样，凯特琳从此失去了形成新记忆的能力，任何事情超过12小时就记不住了。
But much like Barrymore's character, Lucy, in the 2004 movie "50 First Dates," she had lost the ability to form new memories and couldn't remember anything for longer than 12 hours.
She was diagnosed with anterograde amnesia, a type of memory loss that prevents new memories from being formed.
For more than four years, Caitlin wakes up each morning thinking it’s Oct. 13, 2017 — the day after the accident.
Caitlin could remember most of what happens on any given day, but her brain would reset overnight and, each morning, she woke up with no memory of the day before.
Anterograde amnesia can be temporary, long-term, or permanent, according to the Cleveland Clinic. The condition is more likely to be long-term or permanent when there is severe damage to the memory-related areas of the brain.
Every morning, her father, Chris Little was tasked with waking her up and telling her what day it was before explaining that she lost her memory.
Her father said in an interview with Fox News, “The most that she’s ever done is act very, very surprised. Or say something like, ‘How can that be?’ And when she does that, I explained to her that she has a journal. It’s on her desk. She has Post-It Notes, read those and if she has any questions, come and see me in 15, 20 minutes.”
“(I have to be) very organized. So I have lots of Post-It notes that say, ‘Hey, let’s do this,’ or, ‘This is new,’ or things to help me out. So it’s not as hard as I’d imagine it’d be without them,” she explained to WGHP in 2019.
Caitlin's parents sought out the best neurology specialists they could find and took her to 70 different physicians, but no one could give them any definitive answers.
In June 2021, Caitlin graduated from high school. Caitlin, her family and her teacher worked immensely hard to make sure she was ready for graduation.
“A lot of kids would have thrown their hands up and quit. She didn’t,” her teacher said. “She did earn it – there’s no question about that.”
Caitlin's memory started to come back earlier this year, WGHP reported.
Caitlin's parents weren't sure how they would be able to tell if her memory was coming back, but then Chris noticed that she was able to recount something that had happened at least an hour and a half earlier with two kittens when he got home from work.
While she has been recovering, the one activity Caitlin most wanted to continue was running. She completed a 5K race with about two dozen or so college students last month.
“I think it’s helped her stay strong physically and mentally. I think having the blood go to her brain has helped, and it’s just giving her the one thing she loved,” Caitlin’s high school coach Jennifer Vandiver said.
Caitlin was both excited and anxious to begin the race.“I kept praying and asking for strength and endurance,” Caitlin said after the race. “It went by pretty quickly. Everyone starts out a race way too quickly. I was making sure I kept a pace that was comfortable for me.”
The fact that she remembered the course and remembered how others ran it and how she ran it shows her improvement. Her memory isn’t back completely, but her parents see her on the right path.
她的母亲感叹道：“这确实感觉是一个奇迹（It does feel like a miracle）。”
“It’s not an overnight miracle, though. It’s been going on for almost five years,” Chris said. “Especially considering the fact that most people can do something like this for about two years, and then they run out of steam, run out of money, run out of hope.”
Both of Caitin’s parents believe she has a personality that is uniquely equipped for this challenge. She’s a young lady with “determination…and good attitude,” Chris said.
“She had to have trust in us to continue fighting and seeking. It’s a much harder battle if the person that is injured that you’re trying to bring out of this, if they’re not willing to do it with you, it’s almost impossible.”