(CNN) -- It began with a ride home from school on Tuesday, October 9.
Gunmen halted the van ferrying Malala Yousafzai through her native Swat Valley, one of the most conservative regions in Pakistan. They demanded that other girls in the vehicle identify her. Malala had faced frequent death threats in the past.
Some of the girls pointed her out. At least one gunman opened fire, wounding three girls. Two suffered non-life-threatening injuries, but bullets struck Malala in the head and neck.
The bus driver hit the gas. The assailants got away.
Malala was left in critical condition. An uncle described her as having excruciating pain and being unable to stop moving her arms and legs.
Doctors fought to save her life, then her condition took a dip. They operated to remove a bullet from her neck. After surgery, she was unresponsive for three days.
Now, it is nothing short of a miracle that the teen blogger, who fights for the right of girls to get an education, is still alive and even more astounding that she suffered no major brain or nerve damage.
In hardly more than four weeks, she went from an intensive care unit in Pakistan, showing no signs of consciousness, to walking, writing, reading -- and smiling -- again in a hospital in the United Kingdom.
Less than three months after being gunned down, she was discharged from the hospital to continue her rehabilitation at her family's temporary home. Her father is now employed at the Pakistani Consulate in Great Britain.
On Wednesday, doctors announced that she is expected to undergo groundbreaking surgery in Birmingham, England to repair her skull.
And beyond her hospital room, a world sympathetic with her ordeal has transformed her into a global symbol for the fight to allow girls everywhere access to an education.
The United Nations even declared November 10, Malala Day as a day of action to focus on "Malala and the 32 million girls like Malala not at school."
The Pakistani Taliban shot Malala
Malala has encouraged girls and their families to resist the Pakistani Taliban, which pushed girls from classrooms, since she was 11.
In January 2009, the militants issued an edict ordering that no school should educate girls. Malala wrote in her online diary about intimidation tactics the Taliban used in the Swat Valley in northwest Pakistan to coerce girls into not going school.
They included house raids to search for books, and Malala had to hide hers under her bed.
The extremists took issue with her writings and threatened to kill her.
"I was scared of being beheaded by the Taliban because of my passion for education," she told CNN last year.
Right after her shooting, her family kept a low profile, for fear they could be next. The militants vowed that if Malala survived, they'd go after her again.
"We will certainly kill her," a spokesman for the Pakistani Taliban said.
Global outpouring of support
The bloodletting sparked outrage inside Pakistan against the radical Islamist group, which continues to wield influence in parts of the country. Around the world, the young blogger has become a poster child for a widespread need to permit girls to get an education.
Initially, supporters in Pakistan gathered for small vigils to pray for Malala's recovery. Government officials in Peshawar, the main city in the northwestern region where Malala is from, observed a minute of silence in her honor.
Public support snowballed, and thousands of people in Pakistan and elsewhere attended rallies honoring her courage.
Protesters in Karachi carried posters and banners reading: "Malala, our prayers are with you" and "Shame on you, Taliban."
The airwaves filled with leaders and commentators who publicly got behind her, and journalists closely followed her story, drawing death threats from the Taliban for their coverage.
Army Chief Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani took a stand from Malala's hospital, declaring: "We refuse to bow before terror."
Pakistan's first female foreign minister, Hina Rabbani Khar, decried the attempted assassination as "a wake-up call (to) a clear and present danger."
Interior Minister Rehman Malik dubbed Malala "the pride of Pakistan" and announced that her local school would be renamed for her, changing from "Khushal Public School" to "Malala Public High School."
Authorities in Swat renamed a college after her. Malala later requested that schools not be named for her, to prevent them from becoming prominent targets for the Pakistani Taliban.
The United Nations launched a campaign for girls' education named "I am Malala." Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon condemned the attack and praised Malala's cause.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton commended the blogger's bravery; Actress Angelina Jolie donated $50,000 to a charity in Malala's name. And singer Madonna shouted her name from a stage, dedicating a song to her.
Malik proclaimed that the two other girls injured in the attack on Malala -- Kainat Riaz Ahmed