‘Face your biggest fear’: Young cougar survivor shares her recovery story from near-death attack

SPOKANE, Wash. — After a cougar attack nearly killed her, the young survivor shares her road to recovery and how she’s moving forward from the terrifying ordeal.

Lily Kryzhanivskyy was attacked by a cougar in Stevens County in May while she was playing with her friends. She spent a week at Sacred Heart after the attack. Months later, you would never know she was on the brink of death. She’s full of life and living hers to the fullest.

She loves doing cartwheels and playing at the park. She can do those things now, but not too long ago, she was stuck in a hospital. A cougar almost killed her, but she fought back.

“I started just fighting and kicking and punching and then the cougar came right behind me to my head and he started chewing it, and I was really scared,” she said. “I had to keep on fighting, and I started praying so that way God might be able to save my life.”

She believes God did save her life and is now helping her heal. She now has all her stitches removed from her face. She still sees doctors, and not everything’s been easy about her recovery. Through the ordeal, she’s looking for the positives.

“I couldn’t look at myself in the mirror because I was too scared to see how many scars I got and all of the short hair, but then I noticed it was actually me,” Kryzhanivskyy said. “I didn’t change. I’m the same old me.”

She’s a 9-year-old who’s braver than many with a story of survival she isn’t afraid to tell.

“I’m at least happy that the cougar cannot do any more trouble, but I’m happy that at least I’m alive and get to do everything and be with you,” she said.

We can all learn a lot from Lily. She’s wise beyond her years and isn’t letting this attack or really anything hold her back.

“Whoever is going through something hard, they have to stay confident,” she concluded. “You can just overcome, and you can face your biggest fear.”

Saturday is a big day for Lily. She’s celebrating her 10th birthday, and 4 News Now will bring you special updates from the celebration.

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