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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Inside the intensive care unit at Shands, 17-year-old Ivana Torres is breathing on her own for the first time in two weeks.

It's a big step on a long road to recovery.

"She was sick for a couple of weeks before she came here," said boyfriend Jacob Tempest.

"We thought it was a GYN problem because she had a lot of abdominal pain," said aunt Sandy Torres.


"I checked my phone, and I had a text from her and it said, 'Hey baby, I just want to let you know, I'm at the doctor and they say I need to have emergency surgery," Tempest said.

And what started with some stomach pains turned out to be an infection took 17-year-old Ivana Torres.

"For a couple of days they didn't know where the pus was coming from or anything," said Sandy Torres.



After a week in a medically induced coma, doctors found the answers they were looking for.


Ivana had bacterial pneumonia and e-coli poisoning her stomach.

"It was a wake-up call, I guess. Like, 'God, that could be me!"said friend Katelyn Morton.

"It's one of those things, you hear about it and it never happens to you, it never happens to someone you love," said friend Kaiti.

But this isn't the first medical emergency for Ivana.

When she was just 13 years old -- she was diagnosed with thyroid cancer.

"It was really devastating because she's already been through so much," said Sandy Torres.


But family and friends say despite what she's been through, Ivana's concern is always for everyone else...even now.

"She held my hand today and she goes, 'Why are you so cold?" said Emily


"She's say, 'Why are you sad?'" said friend Kaiti.

"She's just one of the friendliest people you'll ever meet," said Katelyn.

And it shows. A banner in her hospital room is packed with signatures from nearly all her classmates.

But it's not just the school that's supporting her.

"It's a big deal in Camden County," said Katelyn. "There donation things everywhere -- even in fire stations. It's just ... it's touched everyone."

Ivana still has more surgeries scheduled to clean out the infection.

And though they still searching for a cause, doctors are hopeful she'll make a full recovery in the next few months.

Even though it's hard for her, Ivana wanted to talk to First Coast News today.

But with doctors removing her breathing tubes, she had a tough time breathing on her own, so we weren't able to get into her room to see her.

Ivana plans to go to Georgia Southern to become a nurse in the fall...

You heard Katelyn mention donations. Her family has set up a website for donations to help pay for her medical bills and make sure she can still do that. There, family also post updates on her health.

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