Giffords to visit hometown of Tucson this weekendPosted: Updated:
PHOENIX (AP) -- Rep. Gabrielle Giffords' staff said Friday that the Arizona congresswoman will visit Tucson for Father's Day weekend in her first time back to her hometown since she was shot in January.
"We've been dreaming of this trip for some time," Giffords' astronaut husband, Mark Kelly, said in a news release. "Gabby misses Tucson very much and her doctors have said that returning to her hometown could play an important role in her recovery."
He said the trip "is sure to be very emotional" and hopes the news media respects their privacy.
Giffords was released from a Houston hospital Wednesday, five months after being shot in the head during a Tucson political event. She had been in the rehab facility since late January, a few weeks after the shooting that killed six and wounded 13.
Giffords will make no public appearances and will grant no interviews during her visit to Tucson, spokesman C.J. Karamargin said.
He said Giffords will travel by private plane from Houston to Tucson on Friday with Kelly and one of his daughters, and she'll spend Father's Day weekend with her family.
Karamargin said Giffords often speaks of Tucson and has said repeatedly, "I want to go home."
"Going home has been something that's been right at the top of her list," Karamargin said. "She is a child of the desert. This is where her heart is. There is no doubt that this will provide a boost in her recovery."
She has left Houston twice since she arrived there in January, first in late April for Kelly's space shuttle launch. When the launch was scrubbed for mechanical reasons, she returned to Florida again for the successful May 16 launch.
Giffords is now living in Kelly's home in League City, a town 26 miles south of Houston. She will continue outpatient therapy at the same hospital where she underwent rehabilitation.
Giffords, who was shot in the left side of her head and has been struggling to relearn how to speak and walk, will be assisted by a 24-hour home health provider, according to a statement from the hospital.