'Very grateful': Bay Area travel blogger leaves hospital months after brutal accident overseas

SANTA CLARA COUNTY, Calif. (KGO) -- An incredible story of survival has entered a new chapter. A Bay Area travel blogger who suffered horrific injuries in Bali after an accident this summer walked out of a South Bay hospital Thursday afternoon to start a new phase in her recovery.

"I'm very grateful for all the people here," Katherine McCaffery said.

Her trips around the world and big personality captivated her 11,400 Instagram followers.

The Santa Clara County native's last post on July 30 celebrated her two-month stay in Bali.

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But just one day after that, McCaffery was in a motor scooter accident, found by good Samaritans unconscious with life-threatening injuries.

"I don't remember the accident," McCaffery said, "Probably for good reason."

Kaitlyn's injuries were so severe that she needed to get back to the U.S.

She'd had travel insurance, but her family says it refused to pay for her to get back to the U.S. to get the care she needed.

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By August though, her thousands of followers and others came through, raising more than $250,000 on a GoFundMe page to help bring her home and into a world class rehabilitation center at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center.

"When she first got here, she was barely talking, she wasn't walking or really doing anything (independent)," Jennifer McCaffery, Kaitlyn's sister said.

But a team of doctors and therapists rallied around her.

"The first challenge we had was getting Kaitlyn talking. She'd had multiple injuries," Dr. Stephen McKenna, Director of Respiratory Rehabilitation Unit said, "To her face and to her throat."

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"We've been working everyday on her talking and her eating," said Kristine Kaplan, Kaitlyn's Speech and Swallowing Therapist, "Even just her memory and paying attention to what's been going on around her."

That work leading to Kaitlyn now being able to speak for herself to the cameras and well-wishers at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center about what's next.

"I am excited. At least I get to see my mom and sister more," she said, "So that's good. And I can do my own thing."

And to the thousands who helped raise the money to get her back home and into the life-saving care she received, McCaffery had this to say:

"Thank you so much for supporting me."

Her family says this is still only the beginning of her journey recovery, she will continue outpatient therapy at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center and at home.

In the future, Kaitlyn says she hopes to become a motivational speaker.

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