Rep. Giffords Plans To Attend Shuttle Launch

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U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, the Arizona Democrat recovering from a gunshot wound to the head suffered Jan. 8, plans to attend next month’s launch of the Space Shuttle Endeavor, which will be commanded by her husband, Mark Kelly.

“Our hope is that the congresswoman will be able to attend the launch,” Giffords’ spokesman, C.J. Karamargin, said March 11. “We’ll have to wait and see what the final word is, but the plan is yes.”

Giffords’ doctors at Memorial Herman Hospital in Houston said the three-term congresswoman is making excellent progress in her recovery and should be able to travel to Florida for the launch.

“She is making leaps and bounds in terms of neurological recovery,” said Giffords’ physician, Dr. Dong Kim, during a March 11 news conference. “Her speech is getting very good, she is starting to walk with assistance and if you remember from where we were six weeks ago, this is a tremendous amount of progress.”

Kim also said there is a good chance that Giffords would attend her husband’s space shuttle launch in April. Although her doctors will wait until May to reattach a portion of her skull removed shortly after the shooting to allow for brain swelling, she is capable of travel in the meantime, Kim said.