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A little girl with cerebral palsy and spastic diplegia walked for the first time into her father’s arms and in while on the national television show, This Morning, after a successful operation.
DailyMail reports that Esme Hodge, a 3-year-old from Thornbury, Bristol, in England, was diagnosed with was diagnosed with cerebral palsy and spastic diplegia last year when she was 2. She has been using a wheelchair to get around until she traveled to the U.S. in Sept. and had a miraculous operation that allowed her to take her first steps on live television.
A clip of the video was shared online and quickly went viral, melting the hearts of numerous people while they watched her walked to her father just weeks before Christmas.
Esme weighed just three pounds when she was born 11 weeks premature. Her parents became worried when she failed to develop at the same rate as other infants her age, and also noticed she couldn’t use the left side of her body.
“She wasn’t diagnosed until she was two and we started fundraising this time last year. We should have been in America right now, but we went early and came back in October,” her mother, Angela, 40, said.
When Angela heard about the selective dorsal rhizotomy (SDR) operation, she was initially disappointed because the surgery was not covered under the NHS system. Yet, the family managed to raise $80,000 through fundraisers (the cost of the procedure) and fly out to the U.S.
Esme’s father, Matthew, 44, described watching his daughter walk for the first time as nothing short of a miracle. It’s something he will likely never forget.
To watch her walk over to Santa was our very own Christmas miracle. The first thing Esme said to him was, ‘look Santa, I can walk’.”
Although doctors said it could take up to a year for Esme to walk, yet, a few months after treatment, she took her first steps.
“Ezzy stood up next to Santa and held his hand. She then told him she wanted horses for Christmas. She’s obsessed – she asked him for lots of horses.” Angela said. She goes to horse riding therapy once a week but she can’t go on a real horse until she’s four, she uses a mechanical one. As a family, seeing Ezzy walk by herself to meet Santa was the best Christmas present we could have wished for.”
Treatment for the little girls isn’t over. She goes to numerous therapies each day, including horse riding, physiotherapy, and hydrotherapy. Angela said Esme’s next goal is to walk into school by herself, unattended.
“I have got just as much pride watching Esme walking as watching my other daughter doing gymnastics,” Angela beamed.
What is Spastic Diplegia?
Spastic diplegia is another name for diplegic cerebral palsy. Spastic diplegia can affect the arms and legs, but generally, the legs are more likely to be affected when compared to the arms. This type of cerebral palsy, similar to the other types, is usually caused by brain damage either before, during, or after childbirth. The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) states that babies born prematurely, such as Esme, are at a higher risk of developing spastic diplegia.
Treatment for spastic diplegia will depend on how severe for the condition. Children who cannot walk may have the option of undergoing surgery, such as Esme. However, developing spastic diplegia doesn’t always mean the child can’t walk. Many children with form of cerebral palsy can still walk, yet have difficulties with muscle control and may walk with a scissor-like gait. Physical therapy, according to medical experts, is crucial for these children and almost always recommended.
Medications, along with other forms of therapy, such as water therapy and massage therapy, may also be beneficial. Since each child’s case is different, it’s important for parents and/or caretakers to work with the child’s doctor for the best treatment plans.