Sitting in a wheelchair, Ling Murray arrived at a benefit for her family Sunday and was immediately inundated by people wanting to give the Rohnert Park woman a hug, encouragement and sympathy.
"I'm very happy. I want to say &‘thank you,'" Murray said, in response to the outpouring that alternately made her cry and smile.
It was Murray's first public appearance since the Dec. 1 night when she and her young daughter, Calli, were struck by a car as they walked in a Snyder Lane crosswalk.
'A Day For Calli' Fundraising Event In Rohnert Park
Calli, 2, died. Murray, 42, suffered severe injuries and just last week began to walk again.
The Sunday event was sponsored by the Fabulous Women of Petaluma. The community-based charitable effort had help from other local groups including sixth-graders from Corona Creek Elementary in Rohnert Park who auctioned off artwork to help raise money for the Murray family.
The benefit was held at the Sally Tomatoes event hall in east Rohnert Park. It drew hundreds of people and included an auction, potluck and dancing.
"It's incredible. It means the world to us," said Jeff Murray, Ling's husband.
He pushed her wheelchair in a slow procession, stopping more than moving as people came up to offer the couple their support.
"We couldn't be as strong as we are today without the support of this community," Jeff Murray said.
Ling Murray's two legs were braced, as well as one arm. Her difficult recovery has progressed so that she now can take several steps.