Rep. Giffords speaks for first time since shooting

PHOENIX (AP) - Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords spoke for the first time sinceshe was shot in the forehead, her spokesman said Wednesday, yetanother significant milestone in her recovery from a traumaticbrain injury.

Giffords first spoke within the past few days and is speaking"more and more," spokesman C.J. Karamargin said Wednesday. Hedidn't know what her first words were, but said at breakfast onemorning she asked for toast.

"She's working very hard and it's paying off," he told TheAssociated Press. "We're elated at this. We always knew Gabby is afighter and that she's not going to let this thing win. And youknow, every day is proof of that."

Six people, including a 9-year-old girl and a federal judge,were killed in the attack outside a grocery store where Giffordswas meeting with constituents. Thirteen people, including Giffords,were injured.

Other news organizations, including Politico, earlier reportedthat Giffords had asked for toast and was able to speak.

In a Facebook post on Tuesday, Giffords' husband Mark Kelly saidhis wife had her appetite back and was eating three times a day,"even though it's hospital food."

"It is hard to believe that only one month has passed sinceGabrielle was shot," he wrote. "The doctors say she is recoveringat lightning speed considering her injury but they aren't kiddingwhen they say this is a marathon process."

He said "there are encouraging signs every day," pointing to herrenewed appetite.

"Your prayers are being heard, so don't stop," he wrote.

Kelly, a NASA astronaut, said last week that he expects his wifeto be well enough to be at his space launch in two months.

The space shuttle Endeavour will leave April 19 for a two-weekmission to the International Space Station, and Kelly will be onboard leading a veteran, all-male crew. The mission will beEndeavour's final flight and Kelly's fourth.

Dr. Gerard Francisco, who is treating Giffords at arehabilitation facility in Houston, said Tuesday that he hopes thecongresswoman can make enough progress to attend the space launch,but said it's too early to say.


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