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This portrait of Arfa Karim Randhawa, by Dan DeLong, accompanied my Seattle P-I story about her 2005 Microsoft visit.

[Update Jan. 14: Arfa has passed away, according to reports from Pakistan. See our follow-up story: Arfa Karim Randhawa, 1995-2012: Hear her philosophy of life]

Doctors are expressing new hope about the condition of Arfa Karim Randhawa, the 16-year-old computer programming prodigy from Pakistan who has been in intensive care since experiencing an epileptic seizure and cardiac arrest nearly two weeks ago, according to reports out of the country.

Her father, Amjad Karim Randhawa, tells the Express Tribune newspaper that doctors believe they can successfully activate her brain, and they no longer consider her case hopeless. Doctors at the hospital in have been receiving help from medical experts including a neurosurgeon from King Edwards Medical University in Lahore, Pakistan. Scans of Arfa’s brain have been mailed to experts in Australia and other countries.

“Now we believe that a miracle will take place,” allowing her to survive, her father tells the newspaper.

Doctors previously said they didn’t believe she would pull through.

A native of Faisalabad, Pakistan, Arfa made headlines as a 9-year-old, when she became the youngest person in the world to be named a Microsoft Certified Professional, a designation for independent experts in Microsoft technologies. That designation led to an invitation to visit Microsoft in Redmond in 2005 to meet Bill Gates and other executives from the company.

I covered the story of her Microsoft visit, and as I recalled in this post last week, she was gracious to Gates but also wasn’t afraid to challenge him on issues such as the relatively small percentage of women on the Microsoft campus.

Her father tells the Express Tribune that he received “a flood of calls” and offers of help after news of Arfa’s condition was made public last week.

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