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DALLAS A young mother paralyzed in a random knife attack moved from a Fort Worth hospital to a rehabilitation center in Dallas Monday afternoon.

Brandi Todd also talked with WFAA about the stabbing, the man accused in the crime, and her future plans.

The mother of two said she never thought that a violent crime could take place in Stephenville.

Not at the park [and] certainly not in front of your kids, she said.

Two Sundays ago, a stranger crept up behind her park bench and sliced her spinal cord with a knife as she played with her four-year-old son and eight-year-old daughter. Watching the stabbing take place, Todd's daughter rushed to her side.

I could just hear her, 'Is my mom going to die? Is my mom going to die?' Todd said.

A few days later, she found the courage to tell her children she is paralyzed. Ninety percent of her spinal cord was severed.

I just tell them, 'This is not the end. We are still going to be happy,' she said. I'm alive. They're alive. I can use my hands. We're going to be happy.

Those who have known her, even for a short while, said they don't doubt that.

If it depends on the determination of the patient, it's 100 percent recovery, said Dr. Michael Hickey, Todd's surgeon. I've never seen anyone more determined to succeed.

She said while she knows it will take more than determination to repair her spinal cord, she's encouraged that she at least feels some tingling. Although she is angry, she also feels something for her alleged attacker, Michael Howard, who has a history of mental illness.

People need to know there are people out there who need help, Todd said. The system failed this man. He needed help.

While Todd will need some as well, she said she wants everyone to know they can save their pity and their Kleenex.

I'm very aware that I can't walk, but breaking down and crying is not going to make me walk, not going to help my kids [and] not going to help my mom or dad, she said. No one wants to see me cry.

Todd said she is prepared for the worst, but keeps hoping for the best.

Brandi Todd does not have health insurance. A fund in her name has been established at Town and Country Bank in Stephenville.


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