On July 9, 2011, 7-year-old Xitclalli “Chilli” Vaszquez spent the day at the mall with her sister, cousin, and aunt. She got her hair cut so that she would look extra pretty for her 8th birthday that was just three days away. On their way home, a drunk driver hit the car she was riding in head-on. The doctors didn’t think she would survive—but she did. And her life will never be the same.

Chilli is now a paraplegic, which means she has total paralysis of her lower body from the breastbone down.

As part of her healing journey, Chilli decided to write a letter to the offender, which her mother read in court. You can view the letter written by Chilli here.

The offender in Chilli’s crash pled guilty and was sentenced to 10 years in prison. He is currently serving parole and has yet to write Chilli back.