There is a long road ahead but a miraculous full recovery is expected for young crash victim Hollie Snell.

The 16-year-old was involved in a two-car fatal crash on November 18. She suffered head injuries so severe her family was told she would not survive.

Due to Hollie's wishes, the family spent the first week preparing to donate her organs, her heartfelt story shared on the front page of the Rotorua Daily Post on Saturday, November 24.

But after day 12 in hospital Hollie, showing signs of improvement, was taken off life support and moved to the high dependency unit.


Now, after 23 days in hospital, Hollie has reached level two of the recovery stages of critical brain injuries.

"Hollie has now been moved down to the neuro ward in Waikato Hospital. She is having some responses to commands such as squeezing your hand, moving a leg, small periods where her eyes are open and can focus on us," Hollie's mother Dale said in a Facebook post.

Hollie Snell is heading towards a full recovery after being involved in a serious car crash. Photo / Supplied
Hollie Snell is heading towards a full recovery after being involved in a serious car crash. Photo / Supplied

Different levels of coma range from very deep, where a patient will show no response to pain, to shallow levels where a patient can respond to pain by movement or opening their eyes or may make some response to speech.

The family hope in the next three weeks Hollie will be transferred to Auckland to the brain injury centre.

"We expect a full recovery for Hollie however it may take considerable time.

"We now have a slightly clearer pathway but we are also fully aware that this is a roller-coaster journey, full of loads of one-step-forward and two-steps-back moments," Dale said.

Hollie's sister, Larnie Woodward, told the Rotorua Daily Post the family was now praying for her full recovery as quick as possible.

"We are obviously ecstatic that she's come this far and we are excited to watch her progress.

"It's a miracle she is alive and we feel as though our prayers and everyone else's have been answered."

Hollie is still breathing through an assisted tracheostomy but the family hope she will be weaned off that this week.

Dale said occupational therapy and physio had started to stimulate Hollie's senses and help with recovery.

"[They] have started with small things like showing her familiar pics, asking her to respond to our voices via small movements and getting her upright via a tilt table every few days," she said.

Hollie is being feed through a gastric tube in her nose and has long periods of sleep, which is vital to her recovery.

Her mother said those who visited should hold her hand or talk about familiar things, helping Hollie connect to her world.

More than three weeks ago, the teen was travelling between Rotorua and her hometown, Te Puke, when she was involved in a fatal crash on State Highway 33 at Okere Falls.

An occupant of the other car died at the scene.

Woodward said at the time that as long at there was hope the family would hold on.

"We've been told many times this is unsurvivable but here she is fighting her best to survive and things keep changing everyday.

"We don't know what's going to happen but we know the prayers and support from around the country have had some power."

Dale said the family was a long way from an easy pathway but they were doing well.

"We truly appreciate and love each and every one of you and really feel in our hearts your continued prayers, healing energy and positive vibes."