On a Friday afternoon last November, Laura was on her way to work in downtown Denver. She was listening to music when she took a step in front of a light rail train. Many people on the train and on the streets nearby did not believe she survived.
Like any mother, Mary Chadwick had to believe her daughter would live.
"I'm not going to say I never went there, because I definitely went there," Chadwick said. "But I think the majority of the time I knew once we got past the coma stage and she opened her eyes, I was going to have her back."
Laura was in a coma for nearly two weeks and had several surgeries to prevent swelling in her brain. The recovery from a traumatic brain injury is lifelong and filled with uncertainty.
Laura's father is Mike Triem. He says doctors warned the family early on.
"They told us, 'look, it's going to be a long road,'" Mike Triem said.
Days and days went by with Laura only blinking her eyes and slightly moving one hand. Months passed before she was strong enough to move to Craig Hospital in Englewood.
Laura had to learn how to swallow, speak, and sit up again. After months of silence, Laura is talking to her family again. Some days are easier than others.
"I have my good days where I speak well, and I have some days where I need to just not talk and then wait," Laura said.
The progress is remarkable and rapid, even for those who see her every day.
"It's really amazing to see the progress she's made and pretty cool to think about the future," Mike Triem said. "I think there's every reason to believe that she has a lot of promise and future left."
Laura has seen the photos from the hospital where her head is swollen and covered in stitches. Those photos tell her about something she doesn't remember, and never will.
(KUSA-TV © 2012 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)