4-Year-Old With Cerebral Palsy Takes Her First Steps After A Life-Changing Surgery

"I can do it."

Maya Tisdale is a 4-year-old with cerebral palsy who has wowed us all with her strength and determination. Her journey has been documented on "Mighty Miss Maya - Will to Walk" Facebook page where her family and supporters can root her on.  

According to ABC News, the young girl from Michigan was born four months early at 26 weeks, weighing just one pound, 10 ounces. It was during her 87 days in the neonatal intense care unit (NICU) that she earned the nickname "Mighty Miss Maya."

When she was 2 years old, she was officially diagnosed with spastic diplegia cerebral palsy, a form of cerebral palsy that often appears in infancy or young children and permanently affects muscle control and coordination, especially in the legs.

In Maya's case, her cerebral palsy makes the muscles in her feet, legs, and hips feel tight or spastic. Consequently, it left her unable to stand for more than a few seconds and in need of a walker.

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Maya's family says she has remained independent and determined not to let her cerebral palsy stop her from doing the things she wants.

After learning that Maya was a candidate for surgery, her family took her to St. Louis in May 2018 to undergo a selective dorsal rhizotomy (SDR). Maya's family explained on the YouCaring website that the life-changing surgery was the only option to "permanently reduce Maya's spasticity, giving her the ability to live with less pain and greater mobility." 

The procedure involved exposing the spinal nerves to electromyography (EMG) to test each one in order to determine which are causing the most spasticity. Then the abnormal rootlets would be cut.

Maya completed her surgery and was out of the hospital on May 15. Then she began a rigorous recovery, including a five-week, in-patient rehab program in Michigan, followed by more than a year of outpatient therapy. 

Post-surgery, Maya's social media accounts showed her gaining more independence and even taking steps while supported with canes and a stroller.

On July 1, she hit another milestone when she took her first steps unassisted.

The Tisdale family captured the incredible moment on video and shared it online. The girl is clearly overcome with joy as she begins to move, carefully trying to keep her balance. Even after she takes a bit of a tumble, she is determined to walk unaided again. When her mom asked if she would like her cane, she said no, "I can do it." 

"First Steps - 4 years, 10 months. I can't even put into words how we are feeling," wrote the family. "Nothing seems to fit the enormity of this moment for us. We are beyond proud of our Mighty Girl."

After the incredible video of Maya walking unassisted for the first time went viral, the family shared another milestone on the Mighty Miss Maya Instagram. On July 4, Maya used her canes outside to pick flowers for her mom.

(H/T: New York Post)

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