Fundraiser held in Canton for Emily Bowman - CBS46 News

Fundraiser held in Canton for Emily Bowman

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CANTON, GA (CBS46) -

It has been eight months since Emily Bowman, 20, was hit by an alleged drunk driver in Athens.

For the first time, Bowman made an appearance before hundreds of people at a religious event at Cherokee County High School. It is also the first time Bowman's mother, Debbie, has ever talked in front a very large public audience.

"I am nervous," Debbie Bowman said.

Despite her nerves, Debbie Bowman had dozens of people in the crowd in tears as she described how much her life has changed since her daughter was hit.

"It is a sick feeling, not even knowing if she is going to make it before you get there," Debbie Bowman said. "I can't even describe the feeling that it is," she told the crowd.

"We are starting to see movement in her right hand and legs as well," Debbie Bowman said. "We know to celebrate the small things, and know they are baby steps toward much bigger ones. Please try and stop and think about your actions because you just don't realize the consequences of them before it is too late."

The driver who police said hit Emily Bowman, Wilson Heaton, has been charged with felony hit-and-run and driving under the influence.

Emily Bowman still can't eat without a feeding tube and has not communicated since she was hit.

After Debbie Bowman's speech, the crowd took up a collection. It is money her friends know will go towards helping Emily Bowman recover from a serious traumatic brain injury.

"The next step is supporting Emily no matter," Camila Cardona said. "Being there for her, and now more than ever, I always want to be with her. Any moment now, what if she starts talking? I want to be there for her first words, I want to be there for all of that."

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