CHICAGO (CBS) – A Chicago police officer shot in the line of duty earlier this month has a long road to recovery.

But as CBS 2’s Mai Martinez reports, on Monday, the officer took time to meet and thank some of her youngest supporters.

“I think that she really is a hero,” said 10-year-old Diego Castillo who was just one of the children anxiously waiting to meet their hero, officer Victoria Mendoza at the Wilson Park Fieldhouse on Monday.

And Mendoza was just as excited to meet them.

Officer Mendoza was shot in the leg July 21 while chasing suspects from an armed robbery at a T-Mobile store.

“I knew I was hit because I looked down, and I saw blood, but with the adrenaline going, I did not feel the pain,” Mendoza said.

While she was hospitalized, the children sent her get well cards.

“It was scary because we didn’t know if she was going to be okay or not,” said Koki Murray, one of the children who set a get-well card.

On Monday, she thanked them and did her best to answer their questions about what happened.

“They wanted to get away and they just decided to pull out guns, and they wanted to hurt us, and I got shot in the leg, but it’s okay. I mean, I will walk again. I will run again,” Mendoza said.

Officer Mendoza said she has received well wishes from across the country, but it’s the cards like these from the children that really touched her heart.

“It meant a lot because sometimes you forget that people care about us out there. The little kids, they have the innocent hearts and stuff and they wanted to make sure ‘hey are you guys ok?’” Mendoza said.

Mendoza said she will treasure the cards forever. She said she loves her job and cannot wait to get back to work. She also hopes to be able to hustle up the Hancock in February. It is something she has been doing ever since 2012.

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