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Lehigh Acres teen injured in 2017 crash turns 18, gets special birthday parade

A Southwest Florida teen received a big birthday surprise to end the week.

WINK News introduced you to Marissa Perez in August 2019 when we told you about the crash that changed her life.

Marissa’s loved ones and neighbors held a drive-by parade Friday to celebrate her turning 18 years old.

One by one, friends, family, and neighbors paraded down Marissa’s neighborhood street in Lehigh Acres to bring her gifts, smiles, and love.

Perez is turning 18, but loved ones weren’t sure if they would see this day. Close to three years ago, Perez was hit by a car while walking to her bus stop. The crash left her with brain damage.

“To see a big smile on her face, it’ll be … I don’t know,” said Rick Pryor, a family friend who became emotional talking about Marissa. “It’s hard to say because the last time I saw her, she was in a coma.”

It was Perez’s mother who set up the birthday surprise because Marissa is at risk and social distancing is a must. But it was also for a little bit more.

“Just to have her have a smile,” said Amanda Perez.

With a little help, that wish came true.

“It was nice,” Marissa said.

Did the celebration put a smile on her face?

“It definitely did with the song,” Perez said.

She’s thankful for the people who went out of their way to make her feel special on her birthday.

“I saw my sister and my nurse,” Marissa said. “And she came back two times, just to get the kick out of it.”

Reporter:Justin Kase
Writer:Jack Lowenstein
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