There's nothing quite like starting your day with a feel good story and we've definitely got one for you today that will melt your heart. A four-year-old girl with cerebral palsy defied doctors’ expectations and took her first steps much earlier than expected. And cue the waterworks.
Cerebral palsy is a disorder of movement, muscle tone or posture that is caused by damage that occurs to the immature, developing brain, most often before birth. The Mayo Clinic says that warning signs can appear during infancy or later on in preschool years. Generally speaking, cerebral palsy causes impaired movement associated with abnormal reflexes, floppiness or rigidity of the limbs and trunk, abnormal posture, involuntary movements, unsteady walking, or some combination of these.
Maya Tisdale was diagnosed with cerebral palsy shortly after she turned one year old. Born in Traverse City, Michigan, she underwent surgery to hopefully help improve her condition on May 9, through a procedure called selective dorsal rhizotomy surgery. This surgery helps improve muscle spasticity by cutting nerve rootlets sending abnormal signals to the muscle.
PREVIOUSLY: Science Says Hugging More Means Happier Kids
For Maya - who had never walked on her own - the surgery was a blessing. Though, doctors insisted that there were no guarantees, but shared that children who were unable to walk prior to this surgery could often take their first steps in six months to a year. Maya beat all odds and surprised everyone by taking her first steps this past Sunday - only seven weeks post surgery. Of course, her mom grabbed her phone and filmed the sweet moment.
Her mother, Ann Tisdale said her daughter has always been “super determined.” We can totally see that through the video!
“She wants to run and play with her friends – and not get left behind,” Ann told Global News. “But she never complains about it.”
Maya attends physical therapy five days a week and that she also does a less intense form of physical therapy at home twice a day because the surgery leaves children's muscles very weak and they need to be strengthened again.
Her parents had heard of this surgery and immediately started doing their research and looking into how successful it would be for their daughter, but were, of course, scared by the idea of surgery. “For us as parents, that was really scary – and we had a lot of anxiety about it,” she said. “But we knew this would probably be her best chance of living an independent life.”
Even if Maya had never learned to walk independently as a result from the surgery, Maya's mom shared that she would have still looked at the experience as successful because of how much it has already impacted her quality of life and overall well being.